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Iran Admits Uranium Traces, Blames More Dirty Equipment

September 30, 2003|From Associated Press

VIENNA — Iran acknowledged Monday that additional traces of weapons-grade uranium had been found on its soil but argued that they came from abroad on contaminated equipment.

The United States and some of its allies have accused Tehran of running a secret nuclear weapons program.

Iran is facing an Oct. 31 deadline to give a full accounting of its nuclear activities, set by the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors. If the board rules at its Nov. 20 meeting that Tehran has violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the U.N. Security Council could impose diplomatic or economic sanctions.

Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is strictly for generating energy.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's representative to the IAEA, told state-run Tehran television Monday that traces of highly enriched uranium had been found at Kalaye Electric Co., near Tehran. But he said those traces and others at a facility in Natanz came in on contaminated equipment that was bought abroad.

Iran has refused to say where it bought the contaminated equipment, but diplomats have told Associated Press the most likely country of origin was Pakistan.

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