By John Lee.
In a much anticipated report completed as part of the Iran nuclear agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that Iran stopped work on designing a nuclear weapon in 2009.
The confidential report to its Board of Governors, viewed by Reuters, said:
“The Agency assesses that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort.”
The report went on to say that those activities continued after 2003, albeit in a less coordinated manner, and that there was no credible indication of any beyond 2009.
Importantly, the IAEA assessed that “these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities.”
But the New York Times adds that Tehran gave no substantive answers to one quarter of the dozen specific questions or documents it was asked about, leaving open the question of how much progress it had made.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters:
“The IAEA report was consistent with what the United States has long assessed with high confidence … and that is Iran had a nuclear weapons programme that was halted in 2003.
“Once the (deal) is implemented, we will have assurance that these types of past activities cannot occur again.”
(Sources: New York Times, Reuters)