US concerned over nuclear reports

19 February 2004
Diplomats are reported to have confirmed a US newspaper report that UN nuclear inspectors in Iran have found components of an advanced uranium enrichment centrifuge which Tehran has failed to declare. The USA Today on 19 February quoted US and foreign sources as saying inspectors had found sophisticated uranium-enrichment machinery at the Doshen-Tappen air base, outside Tehran.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the alleged discovery could support 'our belief Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme under the cover of a peaceful effort', the AFP news agency reported. Iran responded by saying that it 'has not had, nor does it have, military nuclear activities'. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is currently examining Iran's nuclear activities, has declined to comment on the report.

Western diplomats recently claimed that the IAEA had found a new type of centrifuge design which Iran had failed to declare (MEED 12:2:04). The full findings are expected to be published in an IAEA report ahead of the body's next meeting in March.

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