Does Iran have nuclear ambitions?

A source close to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has told RIA Novosti the UN nuclear watchdog's recent mission to Iran led by Director General Mohamed ElBaradei had examined a site of more than 200 centrifuges, among other nuclear facilities.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, disclosed the centrifuges had been made using a technology owned by what he identified as British-Dutch-German firm Urenco. The source told RIA Novosti the technology might well have entered Iran from Pakistan.

"It is well known, after all, that the father of Pakistan's bomb is a former Urenco employee," he said.

It was widely reported in the world press at one point that the man behind Pakistan's atomic bomb, Abdul Kadyr Khan, had photocopied secret documents while working in the Netherlands in the Seventies. Pakistan's nuclear program was launched right after Khan returned to that country, which is home to a wealth of uranium deposits. Virtually none of Pakistan's nuclear facilities have ever been inspected by the IAEA.

Time magazine earlier this year wrote that lax security at Urenco consortium once facilitated leaks of classified information to Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Pakistan.

Urenco repudiated the story. While acknowledging that leaks of centrifuge technology for uranium isotope fission had indeed occurred over twenty years before, the company maintained it had taken appropriate security measures since then.

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