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U.N. Report Warns of Iran’s Nuclear Capability

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations 2010 High-level Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at U.N. headquarters May 3, 2010. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Updated 3:25 p.m. ET: View a copy of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report.

Original Story:

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is likely to suggest that Iran is capable of building a nuclear bomb, having acquired the knowledge and materials that would allow it to assemble a weapon in recent years.

The report, which is expected to be released Wednesday, “will suggest that Iran made computer models of a nuclear warhead and include satellite imagery of what the IAEA believes is a large steel container used for nuclear arms-related high explosives tests,” according to the Associated Press’ conversation with officials involved.

According to the Washington Post’s Joby Warrick,

Documents and other records provide new details on the role played by a former Soviet weapons scientist who allegedly tutored Iranians over several years on building high-precision detonators of the kind used to trigger a nuclear chain reaction, the officials and experts said. Crucial technology linked to experts in Pakistan and North Korea also helped propel Iran to the threshold of nuclear capability, they added.

On Tuesday Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the head of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, “delivers the papers that American officials hand on him” and that “I am sorry that a person is heading the agency who has no power by himself and violates the agency’s regulations, too.”

The IAEA publishes the report on a quarterly basis; this will mark the first time it will firmly state that Iran is working toward a weapon, according to those familiar with the document. The United States has been more cautious in its assessment of Iran’s nuclear program than Britain, France and Israel. On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israeli will “not to take any option off the table,” suggesting that a military strike was possible.

Iran has insisted over the years that its nuclear program is designed only for peaceful, energy-producing purposes.

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