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Iran’s work on nuclear weapons calls sanction deal into question

The IAEA conducted a report as one of the conditions of sanctions being lifted on Iran. Officials concluded Iran was indeed exploring nuclear weapon related technology, though most of the work was conducted before 2003. Still, the IAEA believes Iran continued some nuclear weapons related activities up until 2009.

The IAEA findings appear to be contrast to Tehran’s previous claims that it has never conducted nuclear weapons research and development.

The IAEA wasn’t the first organization to report on Iran’s on-going nuclear weapons related activities. The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian-dissident group, has long argued Iran’s programs were anything but peaceful. Previously, the MEK revealed the existence Natanz uranium enrichment facility and Arak heavy water facility in August 2002 which triggered the IAEA inspection of the Iranian nuclear sites for the first time. The group was also instrumental in exposing Fordow underground enrichment site near Qom.

A day before the IAEA report was released the MEK claimed that its network inside Iran has uncovered evidence that Iran maintains a high-level, top secret committee that is in charge of drafting answers posed by the IAEA. According to the MEK the committee is composed of numerous high ranking military officials, and it’s primary goal is to cover up the country’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

The committee has been tasked with providing answers to the IAEA’s enquires. According to the MEK it has also worked, however, to hinder investigative efforts by denying IAEA inspectors access to military sites and high level officials and scientists.

While the MEK’s claims have not been entirely verified, the group has provided reliable military intelligence concerning Iran in the past, including the revelation of the Natanz nuclear facilities.

Given that Iran’s sits on the world’s second largest oil and gas (combined) reserves, many have questioned the claim that the country’s nuclear ambitions were purely for energy.

The IAEA’s Board of Governors will have to decide in a few days whether to close the PMD file and stop scrutinizing Iran’s past nuclear weapons activities, or assign new mandate for the continuation of IAEA investigation of at least some PMD aspects of Iran’s program.

Besides the MEK, numerous lawmakers, many of them Republican, have questioned Iran’s sincerity. The United States House of Representatives voted against the resolution with 269 representatives voting nay and 186 voting yes. Meanwhile Senator John McCain, among others, claimed that the deal itself was “built far too much on hope,” and questioned Iran’s sincerity.

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