Copy of Newsmax report
- U.N. Watchdog Links Iran's Nuclear Program to Libya - by Stewart Stogel, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007:
UNITED NATIONS -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nation's atomic watchdog group, raises new questions about Iran's controversial nuclear research program and whether that rogue country has been receiving outside assistance with uranium enrichment.
A report by the IAEA, released Thursday, points fingers at Libya as a supporting player in Iran's nuclear proliferation. The agency suggests that uranium particle contamination of the Iranian centrifuges is similar to that found in Libya more than two years ago.
In a report to the U.N. Security Council, which was obtained by NewsMax, the IAEA states Tehran has ignored previous Council demands that Iran suspend its nuclear fuel enrichment activities.
In December, the Security Council threatened a series of sanctions if the Islamic Republic did not comply with a suspension within 60 days.
While Iran contends its uranium enrichment is for peaceful civilian purposes, the United States contends that such enrichment is key to building an atomic bomb and wants it stopped.
As such, a deadlock has developed, with no clear solution in site.
Meanwhile, Iran, with Russian assistance, is nearing completion of one of the world's largest light-water nuclear power stations near the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr. More than two years behind schedule, the multi-billion dollar complex is expected to be fully functional this summer.
In the IAEA report, the issue of Iran's cascade of centrifuges, which provides the heart of its controversial uranium enrichment activities, raises potentially troubling issues for the Security Council.
"Particle contamination similar to that in Iran was also detected in samples taken from centrifuge equipment and components found in Libya" more than two years ago, reads the report.
There have been previous reports linking the two rogue programs.
The IAEA speculates that the uranium fuel likely originated from the same country, but refused to name it.
More than two years ago, Libya voluntarily dismantled its own secret nuclear program and turned over numerous documents to the IAEA.
Unlike Iran, Libya eventually confessed that its nuclear activities were in fact militarily oriented.
Now it seems, the Iranians and Libyans may not only have been cooperating between themselves, but with a third country - most likely, Pakistan.
Pakistan's chief nuclear scientist, Dr A.Q. Khan, has publicly admitted to illegally trafficking in key nuclear technologies and has been under defacto house arrest in the country since February 2004.
Published reports in Pakistan and Washington alleged that several of Dr. Khan's best customers included North Korea, Iran and Libya.
The latest IAEA report removes more of that uncertainty.
Last June, the Pakistani Senate officially rejected a U.S. House of Representatives request that Khan be allowed to travel to Washington to more fully testify on his past nuclear activities.