July 7, 2008
Iran has resumed work on constructing highly sophisticated equipment that nuclear experts say is primarily used for building atomic weapons, according to the latest intelligence reports received by Western diplomats.
Tehran announced that it has no intention of halting its uranium enrichment programme
The work is aimed at developing the blueprint provided by Dr AQ Khan, the “father” of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, who sold Iran details of how to build atom bombs in the early 1990s.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which has overall responsibility for the country’s nuclear programme, has set up several civilian companies to work on the programme whose activities are being deliberately concealed from the United Nations nuclear inspection teams.
The companies, based on the outskirts of Tehran, are working on constructing components for the advanced P2 gas centrifuge, which can enrich uranium to weapons grade two to three times faster than conventional P1 centrifuges.
Iran’s controversial nuclear enrichment programme at Natanz, which Tehran insists is designed to produce fuel for nuclear power, runs on P1 centrifuges. But Iranian nuclear scientists recently conducted successful tests on a prototype P2 centrifuge at Natanz, and the Revolutionary Guard has now set up a network of companies to build components for the advanced centrifuges.
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