More questions on Iran....
Where did they get their heavy water from???
The latest United Nations report on Iran's nuclear program questions Tehran's credibility regarding a recently disclosed facility built into a mountain near the holy city of Qom.
The International Atomic Energy Agency report issued Monday notes Iran's contention that it began work on the nuclear facility in 2007 in response to Bush administration threats of war as part of a plan to safeguard sensitive "organizations and activities" that could be targeted in an armed conflict.
But according to the agency's report, satellite photos showed construction began in 2002, well before Iran's nuclear program became a hot international issue. U.S. officials previously said they first detected the site in 2006.
The U.S. and other major powers worry that Iran's nuclear research program will ultimately produce weapons, an allegation Iran denies.
The discrepancy in dates is a significant measure of Iran's sincerity. Iran has long argued that because its parliament refused to ratify the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it doesn't have to disclose new sites to international inspectors until six months before introducing nuclear material to them, a point strenuously disputed by the West and departing IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
But from December 2003 to February 2006, Iran was adhering to the Additional Protocol, obliging it to declare new sites immediately.
The incongruous chronology and the inspection of the site, already fitted with wiring, pipes and other infrastructure, also prompted the agency to question Iran about the possible presence of other hidden nuclear facilities.
"Iran's declaration of the new facility . . . gives rise to questions about whether there were any other nuclear facilities in Iran which had not been declared to the agency," the report says. "Iran's explanation about the purpose of the facility and the chronology of its design and construction requires further clarification."
The U.N. watchdog's quarterly report also says that Iran's nuclear program is operating at less than half-capacity, inexplicably producing the same amount of enriched uranium as six months ago and perhaps less.
In addition, inspectors found 600 barrels of heavy water at a nuclear facility in Esfahan. The plutonium in the spent fuel of heavy-water nuclear reactors can be used for nuclear bombs. The IAEA asked Iran this month for information on the barrels' origin, since Iran's heavy-water production plant near Arak is apparently not operating.