Washington, Nov 8. - Iran is working toward developing a nuclear bomb and has been doing so since 2003, according to evidence collected in the much-anticipated report released today in Vienna by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” the report states. “The Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
"The information also indicates that prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured program, and that some activities may still be ongoing,” the report continues.
An unnamed diplomatic source in Vienna called the 25-page study "the most damning report ever published by the IAEA and the conclusion arising from it is one: Iran is working to acquire a nuclear weapon."
The report details tests, acquisition of materials and technology that, together, suggest the Islamic Republic has sought for at least eight years to produce a nuclear weapon. It focuses on the secretive Iranian program to enrich uranium, the development of a payload system to carry a nuclear weapon on a missile, and the testing of high explosives.
There was no immediate response from the Israeli government, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday in response to leaks of the report that “we've known these things for years.” Separately, after the report was released, a top Israeli official told the Guardian newspaper in Britain that the Jewish state "hopes the [IAEA] report serves to galvanize international support for beefing up action."
Iran categorically denied the report’s findings, calling it “politically motivated.”
A U.S. official told Reuters after the report was released that the U.S. was likely to impose more bilateral sanctions targeting Iran’s commercial sector, but that, for now, it would avoid the highly sensitive oil and gas sector.