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I keep hearing how Iran might get nuclear weapons – It looks like they’ve had them since 1993.

Putting a search in Google for Iran 1993 nuclear – and it yielded this –


February 1993
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirms that Argentina will export a shipment of 20% enriched uranium to Iran in 1993.
—Claude van England, “Iran Defends Its Pursuit Of Nuclear Technology,” The Christian Science Monitor, 18 February 1993, p. 7; The Arms Control Reporter, March 1993. (see below)

March 1993
The Arms Control Reporter reports that by December 1991, Iran had imported four nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union, including a nuclear artillery shell, two nuclear warheads that could be launched on Scud missiles, and one nuclear weapon that could be delivered by a MiG-27 aircraft. [Note: See 24 May 2002 entry.] The report says that fissile material was exported from Kazakhstan to Iran and the rest of the components were exported from other republics of the former Soviet Union through Turkmenistan. Although the codes to arm the warheads were not provided with the missiles, the report says two experts from Russia arrived to bypass arming codes.


Nuclear Chronology


This annotated chronology is based on the data sources that follow each entry. Public sources often provide conflicting information on classified military programs. In some cases we are unable to resolve these discrepancies, in others we have deliberately refrained from doing so to highlight the potential influence of false or misleading information as it appeared over time. In many cases, we are unable to independently verify claims. Hence in reviewing this chronology, readers should take into account the credibility of the sources employed here.Inclusion in this chronology does not necessarily indicate that a particular development is of direct or indirect proliferation significance. Some entries provide international or domestic context for technological development and national policymaking. Moreover, some entries may refer to developments with positive consequences for nonproliferation.

China agrees to sell two 300MW Qinshan reactors under a project named Esteqlal for the facility of Darkhovin located south of the city of Ahvaz. [Note: Esteqlal usually refers to a plant under construction at the Bushehr site. See 19 September 1994, 29 September 1994, 17 April 1994 entries. But according to the Federation of American Scientists, Esteqlal is a project at the Darkhovin site. FAS reports that many sources incorrectly refer to Esteqlal as being at Bushehr, not Darkhovin.]
—Michael Rubin, “Iran’s Burgeoning WMD Program,” Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, March/April 2002, <http//www.meib.org>; Federation of American Scientists, “Darkhovin,” <www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iran/facility/darkhovin.htm>.

China provides Iran with an HT-6B Tokamak fusion reactor that is installed at the Plasma Physics Research Center of Azad University. The center is believed to be run by M. Qorannevis.
—”Transfer of Nuclear Device to Iran Cited,” FBIS Document FBIS-CHI-95-078, 21 April 1995; in Mark Gorwitz, “Foreign Assistance to Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Programs; Emphasis on Russian Assistance: Analysis and Assessment,” CNS Unpublished Report, October 1998.

Iran asks Russia for heavy water reactors, and Russia refuses because of proliferation concerns.
—”Press Conference With PIR Center Officials Regarding Russian-Iranian Defense and Nuclear Cooperation,” Official Kremlin International News Broadcast, 16 March 2001; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

President Clinton and former President Bush convince Russian President Boris Yeltsin to kill negotiations with Iran on the sale of a natural-uranium-burning [heavy water] reactor. Such reactors can be used to produce weapons-grade fissile material. [Note: See previous 1993 entry on Russia and heavy water reactors.]
—Steven Greenhouse,U.S. Seeks To Deny A-Plants To Iran,” New York Times, 24 January 1995, p. A4.

The Czech engineering firm, Skoda, considers selling nuclear technology to Iran; Skoda first attempts to do so in cooperation with Germany’s Siemens. When Siemens refuses, Skoda pursues the matter on its own with the support of Czech industry minister, Vladimir Dlouhy. However, sharp Western protests causes Skoda to abandon the effort. Frantisek Svitak, Vice President of Skoda’s nuclear division, says later that Skoda would not sell nuclear technology directly to Iran until adequate nuclear safeguards were in place. Svitak, however, indicates that Czech nuclear technology sold to Russia could end up in Iran.
—”Something Clunky Out East,” Economist (London), 18 February 1995, pp. 68-69.

Iranian arms dealers Mehdi Kashani and Musa Khair Habibollahi purchase the small Hartenholm airport located north of Hamburg in Germany. The Iranians have reportedly been using the airport as a transit point for smuggling weapons-related materials and technology since sometime after 1985, and according to Western intelligence officials, continue to use the airport for smuggling nuclear weapons-related items and other goods under the new management of another Iranian, Nick Ahmed Semnar. [Note: See March 1995 entry.]
—Chris Hedges, “Nuclear Trail—A Special Report; A Vast Smuggling Network Feeds Iran’s Arms Program,” The New York Times, 15 March 1995, p. A1.

Germany’s Leybold AG sharply tightens its export controls on nuclear-related items, virtually prohibiting the transfer of dual-use items to Iran. Leybold checks with German and US authorities and investigates its potential buyers before making a sale, and through use of databases it seeks to identify possible third-party front companies that might be attempting to buy items for threshold states.
—Linda Rothstein, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November 1993, pp. 4-5.

A feasibility study shows that it would be possible to convert Iran’s 5MW nuclear research reactor from highly enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium (LEU). Future studies will be conducted to compare the possible loadings for the LEU core. These studies will need to consider the economics of such conversion and the increased handling of uranium that it will entail.
—S.M. Nejat, Nuclear Engineering International, December 1993, pp. 45-46.

US companies export dual-use technologies to Iran, including “toxins, turbojet engines, air or vacuum pumps, machinery for liquefying gas, centrifuges and centrifuge parts, machine-tool holders, gas separation equipment, hydraulic presses, and laboratory furnaces,” without proper Department of Commerce (DOC) licensing or inspection, according to US Senate testimony in 1995 by Kenneth R. Timmerman, director of the Middle East Data Project. An official from the Department of Commerce in 1995 describes Timmerman’s testimony as “inaccurate and without foundation.”
—Bill Gertz, “Senate Sends Tough Message To Russia,” Washington Times, 17 March 1995, pp. A1, A16.

A Russian foreign intelligence report says Iran has devised a way to dodge export regulations. Other reports refer to extensive Iranian efforts to procure fissile material.
—David Albright, “An Iranian Bomb?” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 1995-8/95, pp. 21-26.

7 January 1993
Kim Yong Sop, the North Korean ambassador to Egypt, says that reports that North Korea is exporting nuclear technology to Iran are erroneous. Kim further states his country does not have nuclear capabilities, therefore, it is not able to transfer nuclear technology to another country.
—”North Korean Ambassador Denies Nuclear Exports to Iran, Iraq,” Middle East News Agency (Egypt), 7 January 1993, <www.lexis-nexis.com>.

23 January 1993
Gad Yaacobi, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, says Iran devotes $800 million per year to the development of nuclear weapons. He warns that Iran has become “the main threat now” to peace in the Middle East.
—Charles A. Radin, “Israeli Envoy Says Iran is Now Main Threat in Mideast,” The Boston Globe, 23 January 1993, p. 2; in Lexis-Nexis, <www.lexis-nexis.com>.

27 January 1993
Sakartvelos Respublika (Tbilisi) reports that in a treaty of friendship and cooperation signed by Iran and Georgia, both nations agree that they share a similar view in support of disarmament, controls on weapons of mass destruction, and their reduction and eventual elimination. The treaty also states that both nations wish to declare the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea both a zone of peace and a nuclear and chemical weapon-free zone.
—”Friendship, Cooperation Treaty With Iran Published” Central Eurasia, 27 January 1993, pp. 60-63.

28 January 1993
Russia expresses concern over the spread of weapons to other countries, and it identified certain areas of concerns. In varying degrees, Russia is concerned about Israel, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Taiwan, Syria, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Algeria, Egypt and South Korea.
—Jeff Berliner, “Russia Worried About Spread Of Weapons,” Executive News Service, 28 January 1993.

31 January 1993
At a Teheran news conference, Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani denies reports that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon. President Rafsanjani declares that Iran “cannot afford to purchase [and] will never try to purchase” nuclear bombs.
—Caryle Murphy, “Iranian Sees No Breakthrough On U.S. Ties,” The Washington Post, 1 February 1993, pp. A12, A15.

February 1993
Akbar Torkan, former Iranian defense minister, says, “Can our Air Force…take on the Americans, or our Navy take on the American Navy? If we put all our country’s budget into such a war, we would have just burned our money. The way to go about dealing with such a threat requires a different solution entirely.”
Financial Times, 8 February 1993, p.4; in Michael Eisenstadt, “Living With a Nuclear Iran?,” Survival, 3 August 1999, pp. 124-48.

February 1993
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirms that Argentina will export a shipment of 20% enriched uranium to Iran in 1993.
—Claude van England, “Iran Defends Its Pursuit Of Nuclear Technology,” The Christian Science Monitor, 18 February 1993, p. 7; The Arms Control Reporter, March 1993.

2 February 1993
An Anti-Defamation League (ADF) report says the United States is inadvertently aiding Iran’s nuclear weapon program by supplying it with more than $650 million a year in computers and “other federally listed nuclear relevant technologies.” The report also states Iran’s ability to purchase dual-use technologies has been bolstered by increasing US purchases of Iranian oil. The US Department of Commerce says any dual-use technology sent to Iran is carefully scrutinized by the Departments of Energy, State, and Defense, which calls the checks “adequate and rigorous.”
—Steve Rodan, “ADL: U.S. Companies Helping Iran’s Nuclear Program,” The Jerusalem Post, 10 February 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

16 February 1993
President Rafsanjani and Jiang Xinxiong, the president of the China National Nuclear Industrial General Corporation, meet to discuss the construction of a 300MW nuclear power station in Iran. China promises to provide the technology and equipment for the construction of the nuclear power station.
—”Rafsanjani Says Nuclear Energy Used for Peaceful Purposes; Cooperation with PRC,” New China, 17 February 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

17 February 1993
Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports that Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbajev, while in Egypt, says that Kazakhstan never sold any materials that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons. The atomic weapons of the former Soviet Union are under control of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.
—”Kazkhstan mediates in the Iranian-Egyptian dispute,” Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 17 February 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>. [CNS Translation]

17 February 1993
Iranian President Rafsanjani says nuclear cooperation between China and Iran is for peaceful purposes only, “All the world should believe that Iran and China are cooperating in the field of nuclear technology for the purpose of the peaceful use of nuclear energy-not for military purposes.” [Note: See 21 February 1993 entry for the signing of a nuclear agreement between China and Iran.]

—”Rafsanjani Says Nuclear Energy Used for Peaceful Purposes; Cooperation with PRC,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 24 February 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

18 February 1993
In response to allegations made by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that Iran is working towards developing a nuclear weapon by the year 2000, Reza Amrollahi, head Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, says, “Our nuclear program is peaceful…my country has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has expressed its willingness to honor it. Also, we are an active member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” Amrollahi asserts Iran seeks only to improve its ability to generate electricity for its populace and complete the work already started under the former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, but he says Iran is involved with research to produce radioisotopes at a laboratory in Karaj. In response to claims by the CIA that it has halted sales of nuclear supplies to Iran by China and Argentina, Amrollahi says his organization is still purchasing low-grade uranium from Argentina and has signed a contract with China for the purchase of a nuclear reactor. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirms that a shipment of 20% enriched uranium from Argentina will arrive in Iran within the year.
—Claude van England, “Iran Defends Its Pursuit of Nuclear Technology,” The Christian Science Monitor, 18 February 1993, p.7; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

21 February 1993
Iran and China sign a deal in Tehran to construct two 300MW nuclear power plants in Ahvaz, following an agreement signed in Tehran in February of 1992. [Note: See 22 November 1992 entry.]
—”Update To Iranian Nuclear Facilities,” The Arms Control Reporter, March 1993; Reuters, 22 February 1993; in Gulf 2000, <http://www1.columbia.edu>.

24 February 1993
CIA Director James Woolsey says that the United States is concerned about Iran’s nuclear potential, even though Iran is still eight to ten years away from being able to produce its own nuclear weapon. Woolsey said that Iran could become a nuclear power sooner if it acquired assistance from abroad.
—”U.S. Outlines Concern Over North Korean A-Arms,” New York Times, 25 February 1993, p. A5; “German Magazine: DPRK Produced 1 Nuclear Weapon”; Central Eurasia, 3 March 1993, p. 8; Original Source: KBS-1 Radio Network (Seoul), 2 March 1993; Jim Mann, “N. Korea Nuclear Arms Potential Cited by CIA”. Los Angeles Times, 25 February 1993, p. A4.

March 1993
The Arms Control Reporter reports
that by December 1991, Iran had imported four nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union, including a nuclear artillery shell, two nuclear warheads that could be launched on Scud missiles, and one nuclear weapon that could be delivered by a MiG-27 aircraft. [Note: See 24 May 2002 entry.] The report says that fissile material was exported from Kazakhstan to Iran and the rest of the components were exported from other republics of the former Soviet Union through Turkmenistan. Although the codes to arm the warheads were not provided with the missiles, the report says two experts from Russia arrived to bypass arming codes. Reza Amrollahi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, denies that Iran has received or will receive nuclear assistance from the former Soviet Union. While a report by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) states that Iran does not have nuclear weapons, the FIS report agrees with the conclusion expressed by US CIA Director James Woolsey on 24 February 1993 that Iran could indigenously produce a nuclear bomb within 10 years. Iran denies these claims and has stated that its nuclear research is directed towards building two 1200MWe nuclear reactors at Bushehr, as well as producing cyclotrons and radioisotopes. [Note: The 1200MWe reactors are sometimes referred to as 1293MW. See 3 December 1996 and 6 March 1990.]
—”Update To Iranian Nuclear Facilities,” The Arms Control Reporter, March 1993.

1 March 1993
British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd says the United Kingdom is tightening its export controls on dual-use technology and military-related equipment to Iran. Under the new British export controls, the Department of Trade and Industry will refuse approval of licenses for banned nuclear or military items listed on international rosters to Iran. The new British export restrictions exempt items considered necessary for keeping civil aircraft safe and also exempt radioactive materials used in medicine.
—Jimmy Burns and Gillian Tett, “UK Tightens Rules On ‘Dual-Use’ Iran Exports,” Financial Times, 2 March 1993, p. 8.

5 March 1993
Proliferation Issues reports that the Russian Federation Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) has issued a report that says Iran does not possess nuclear weapons and even with outside help, it will take Iran more than 10 years to develop nuclear weapons. Russian FIS experts said three factors that inhibit Iran’s nuclear weapons program include the weakened state of Iran from the Iran-Iraq War, the great dependency of Iran on foreign assistance in technology and science, and the low level of development of Iran’s industry. The report states that Iran has attempted to overcome its lack of technology and science through buying “dual-use” technology from other countries as Pakistan and Iraq have done. Russian FIS experts said that Iran carries out research on nuclear energy at Karaj, Tehran, and Isfahan, with increased attention being given to the Tehran facility. Since 1968, a 5MW research reactor that uses nuclear fuel enriched to 93% has operated at the Tehran plant. The Russian report concludes that despite concerns over statements made by both Iranian leaders and foreign intelligence services that Iran will soon develop a nuclear bomb, there is no evidence to substantiate such claims.
—”A New Challenge After The Cold War: Proliferation Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction,” Proliferation Issues, 5 March 1993, pp. 28-29.

9 March 1993
Factory officials at a beryllium plant in Ustkamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, say that an Iranian delegation had visited the plant in August 1992 but deny that any sale took place. The British Broadcasting Corporation reports, however, that the Iranians purchased beryllium, a key component in nuclear weapons production, as well as 100 tons of uranium on that occasion.
—Agence France Presse, 9 March 1993; in Gulf 2000, <http://www1.columbia.edu>.

10 March 1993,
An editorial in the Tehran Times says that the Iranian Foreign Ministry should file official protests with countries in the Third World that accuse Iran of attempting to acquire nuclear weapons. Specific reference was made to a British television report of 8 March 1993, which declared that Iran is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons, technical assistance, and nuclear weapons materials from Kazakhstan.
—”Foreign Ministry Urged to Protest Accusations on N-Arms,” Proliferation Issues, 22 March 1993, p. 26. IRNA (Tehran) in English 10 March 1993.

13 March 1993
Reza Amrollahi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, denies allegations by Western intelligence sources that Iran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons and declared that Iran has completely complied with the requirements of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. He also refutes a recent report by the British Broadcasting Corporation that Iran is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons technology from Kazakhstan. Amrollahi says, “We don’t have a bomb, nor are we seeking one. We oppose nuclear weapons because of our convictions.” Amrollahi also declares that Iran had completed work on five of twelve projects for finding uranium and says, “We hope to produce and sell uranium to the world some day.”
—”Iran’s Nuclear Chief Denies Seeking Weapons,” Reuters, 13 March 1993 Executive News Service, 13 March 1993.

15 March 1993
The Times of London reports that an Iranian opposition official has said that Russia is assisting Iran with the construction of two 440MW nuclear reactors at Gorgan. The Iranian opposition leader also declared that China is prepared to assist Iran in constructing two 300MW nuclear reactors at the Darkhovin facility.
—David Watts, “Tehran Denies Nuclear Charges,” Times, 15 March 1993.

21 March 1993
US News and World Report reports that North Korea and Iran have an agreement to develop nuclear weapons. North Korea reportedly is to sell Iran unspecified numbers of nuclear weapons as well as designs for nuclear weapons plants, in return for Iran giving North Korea $500 million for the development of ballistic missiles that could reach Japan.
—Reuters, 21 March 1993; in Gulf 2000, <http://www1.columbia.edu>.

26 March 1993
Jyotindra Nath Dixit, director general of India’s Foreign Ministry, says the Indian government refused a request from Iran for an experimental nuclear reactor three years ago. In light of the relationship between Iran and Pakistan, India said it found it unwise to provide Iran with a reactor at the time. Dixit further states that international pressure to stop nuclear proliferation was a factor.
—Asher Wallfish, “Indian official: Delhi Ignored Iranian Request for Nuclear Reactor,” The Jerusalem Post, 26 March 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <www.lexis-nexis.com>.

31 March 1993
Qol Yisral reports that Israel’s ambassador to Kazakstan received a “commitment” that Kazakstan had not sold nuclear warheads to Iran and does not intend to do so in the future because it wishes to strengthen its ties with Israel and western countries.
—”President Reportedly Denies Nuclear Deals With Iran,” Central Eurasia, 31 March 1993, p. 71.

31 March 1993
Reuters reports that Russia will build a nuclear power plant in Iran. Eduard Akopyan, head of the Russian state company that builds atomic power plants abroad, Zarubezhatomenergostroy, says that the Iranian plant will have two modernized pressurized water reactors. Construction is expected to take seven to eight years. Western governments are expressing concern about the safety of the Russian plants. However, Sergey Shoigu, head of the State Committee for Emergency Situations, rules out the possibility of a major accident.
—”Russia To Build Nuclear Power Plants Abroad,” Executive News Service, 31 March 1993.

April 1993
The Iranian parliament ratifies nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia and China. Iran will buy two VVER-440s [440MW reactors] from Russia and two 300MWe pressurized water reactors similar to those at Qinshan from China. [Note: See 21 February 1993 entry for the signing of the agreement. See 24 February 1993 for the Iranian president’s comments on the agreement. See 13 April 1993 for more on the ratification.]
—”Agreements Ratified,” Nuclear Engineering International, July 1993, p. 10.

April 1993
Iran expresses interest in India’s new monazite-based fuel cycle technology for fast breeder reactors. The technology uses a blanket of thorium produced from the beach sands of Kerala, in southwest India.
—Cecil Victor, Patriot (New Delhi), 10 April 1993, p. 5; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-019, 22 June 1993, p. 9.

3 April 1993
Eduard Akopyan, head of the Russian Zarubezhatomenergostroy company that builds atomic plants abroad, says Russia and Iran are discussing where a nuclear reactor should be built. According to Akopyan, the reactor will consist of two units with water-cooled reactors capable of producing 440MW each.
—”Russia Building Nuclear Power Stations for Iran and Other Countries,” British Broadcasting Corporation, 3 April 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <www.lexis-nexis.com>.

13 April 1993
The Islamic Majlis of Iran ratifies bills on cooperation pacts with Russia and China. In July 1989, Iranian President Akbar Hashemi- Rafsanjani signed the 10-point Iran-Russia cooperation pact on peaceful utilization of “nuclear materials and related equipment.”
The agreement between Russia and Iran includes fundamental research and its application in the use of nuclear energy, research on safety in nuclear power stations, radiological and nuclear safety, and the production and use of isotopes. The agreement also provides for the “planning, construction, and utilization of nuclear research reactors and nuclear power stations, the production of components and the material needed for nuclear reactors, and research in laser production technology and applications.”
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry will sign the accords, and all cooperative projects will be subject to IAEA safeguards. The 12-part agreement between Iran and China, which President Hashemi-Rafsanjani signed in September 1992, provides for joint work on nuclear power plants, uranium extraction and exploration, and radiation safeguards.
—”Majles Ratifies Agreements on Nuclear Cooperation,” IRNA (Tehran), 13 April 1993, in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-011, 23 April 1993; “Nuclear Accords with the PRC, Russia Approved.” Hamshahri (Tehran), 14 April 1993, p. 2; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-012, 4 May 1993, pp. 17-18; “Iran Ratified Nuclear Agreements with Russia and China,” Nuclear News, May 1993.

14 April 1993
Paris Match, a French weekly, reports Tehran is investing $2 billion per year to develop its nuclear capability.
—”Paris Match: Iran Spending Billions on Arms,” The Jerusalem Post, 14 April 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

22 April 1993
Foreign Report reports that North Korea is supplying Iran with nuclear know-how, technology, equipment, and materials such as enriched uranium.
—”An Israeli Lesson For North Korea?,” Foreign Report, 22 April 1993.

May 1993
Russian Deputy Nuclear Energy Minister Viktor Sidorenko says Russia will build several modernized VVER reactors in both Iran and China. Negotiations with Iran are in their final stage, he says. Although weapons-grade material could be produced from the spent fuel, he says Iran will promise to adhere to the internal safeguards agreement and will allow for international supervision.
—”Russia Set To Supply Iran, China With Nuclear Plants,” The Wall Street Journal, 12 May 1993, p. A9.

11 May 1993
US intelligence analysts allege that Iran has sought weapons-related nuclear equipment and experts from Ukraine. Both nations have denied the allegations.
—John J. Fialka, “Iran Nuclear Power Effort Hides Drive For Weapons, Some U.S. Analysts Say,” The Wall Street Journal, 11 May 1993, p. A10.

11 May 1993
Experts from Russia and China arrive in Tehran to work on Iran’s civilian nuclear program, which the United States believes constitutes an effort to build weapons of mass destruction.
—John J. Fialka, “Iran Nuclear Power Effort Hides Drive for Weapons, Some U.S. Analysts Say,” Information Bank Abstracts, 11 May 1993, p. 14; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

12 May 1993
Mohammed Mohammedi, an official of Iran’s Foreign Ministry’s Information Department, says, “At present, none of Iran’s industrial or military installations nor [sic] any of its research centers is capable of producing such weapons [weapons of mass destruction].” Iran further states that due to this belief it has no hesitation in promulgating its desire to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.
—”Iran ‘incapable’ of producing weapons of mass destruction,” Agence France Presse, 12 May 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <www.lexis-nexis.com>.

24 May 1993
Time publishes an interview with Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who declares that nuclear weapons are not in the interest of anyone. He says it would be irrational for Iran to use its limited resources to develop nuclear weapons, and that nuclear weapons can never be used in the region. Asked about a potential nuclear war between India and Pakistan, he says Iran is more concerned with Israel’s nuclear potential. President Rafsanjani says that even if countries of the Third World tried to acquire nuclear weapons, they could never compete with the major nuclear powers.
—James R. Grimes and Karsten Prager, “Iran: Yes To Revolution And To Moderation,” Time, 24 May 1993, pp. 46-49.

9 June 1993
The Los Angeles Times reports that the United States is worried that a $360 million loan provided to Iran by Japan will allow Iran to fund its nuclear weapons program. Japan labels the money as means to “moderating” Iranian activity.
—Douglas Frantz, “U.S. Worried Over Japanese Loan to Iran,” Los Angeles Times, 9 June 1993, p. 4; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

10 June 1993
The United States and European Community (EC) agree to study information regarding Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. US Secretary of State Warren Christopher says, “Iran must understand that it cannot have normal commercial relations on the one hand while trying to develop weapons of mass destruction on the other.” Christopher, who leads the effort to install sanctions against Iran, says Iran will yield to economic coercion since “Iran’s economy is in trouble.”
—Norman Kempster, “EC will study economic sanctions against Iran,” Los Angeles Times, 10 June 1993, p. 18, <www.lexis-nexis.com>.

18 June 1993
Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran reports that the partnership of Amir Kabir Technological University and the Atomic Energy Organization has produced its first X-ray tube using cobalt-57. The X-ray tube is designed to detect uranium.
—”X-ray Tube for Detecting Uranium Made in Iran for the First Time,” British Broadcasting Corporation, 18 June 1998; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

25 June 1993
An Agence France Presse report says that the Swiss are major suppliers for Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The report adds that at least 10 companies have exported materials and equipment that could be used to produce nuclear chemical and biological weapons, as well as long-range missiles. The Hebrew language newspaper The Daily Maariv says that Switzerland possesses high technology, loose and legal export controls, and the inclination to sell. Maariv adds that because there is no ‘end-user’ provision in Switzerland, firms can sell parts through intermediaries. The paper also says that Swiss exports to Iran almost doubled in a span of three years. [Note: See 28, 30 June 1993.]
—Agence France Presse, 25 June 1993; in Gulf 2000, <http://www1.columbia.edu>.

27 June 1993
The Daily Yomiuri reports Israeli officials met with their North Korean counterparts in an effort to convince North Korea not to provide Iran with nuclear technology and Nodong-1 missiles. Israel believes the missiles would be able to hit Israel and other nations of the Persian Gulf and has asked North Korea in the past to forego any sales to Iran.
—Yomiuri Shimbun, The Daily Yomiuri, 27 June 1993, p. 4; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

28 June 1993
Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s prime minister, says allegations made by the newspaper Maariv that Swiss companies are providing information and supplies to Iran for its nuclear program are false, stating, “The newspaper doesn’t know what it is talking about.” [Note: See 25, 30 June 1993.]
—”Rabin Scoffs at Report of Swiss Nuclear Sales to Iran,” Agence France Presse, 28 June 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

30 June 1993
Shimon Peres, Israel’s foreign minister, asks the Swiss authorities to regulate its exports of materials and equipment that could be used to develop nuclear weapons. The Swiss deny that its regulations pertaining to the export of such equipment are lax. [Note: See 25, 28 June 1993.]
—”Israel asks Swiss to step up curbs on nuclear sales to Iran, Iraq,” Agence France Press, 30 April 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

July 1993
A new export law decreed by the Italian Foreign Trade Ministry comes into effect, requiring special authorization from the Trade Ministry for all dual-use equipment exports. However, even prior to this law, special authorization would have been needed for export of steam condensers. In the past, uncertainties about the possible utility of dual-use equipment allowed strategic items to be exported from Italy to “high-risk” countries such as Libya, Iran, and Iraq. [Note: See 11 and 13 November 1993 for Italian seizure of steam generators bound for Iran.]
—”Background To Seizure Of Nuclear Shipment Bound For Iran Outlined,” in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-037, 8 December 1993, pp. 54-55; “Italian Police Seize Iran-Bound Consignment,” Reuters, 11 November 1993; “Iran: Nuclear Equipment Seized in Italy,” Intelligence Newsletter, 25 November 1993, p. 7; “Police Seize Nuclear Material Destined for Iran,” RAI Televideo Teletext (Rome), 11 November 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-037, 8 December 1993, p. 54.

3 July 1993
Iran says no link exists between it and Switzerland for the trade of nuclear materials. Mohammad Reza Alborzi, Iran’s ambassador to Switzerland, denies any link, stating, “Such accusations are baseless and are aimed at discouraging Switzerland from doing business with Iran.” At the same time the Swiss assure its export procedures fully comply with the rules of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). [Note: See 25, 28, 30 June 1993.]
—”Iran denies nuclear cooperation with Switzerland,” Agence France Press, 3 July 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

8 July 1993
The Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran reports that Li Lanqing, China’s vice-premier, and Hamid Mirzadeh, Iran’s vice-president, concluded a four-day meeting in which they created a memorandum calling for the construction of two 300MW nuclear power plants in Iran. The Chinese agency Xinhua says the project is “only for peaceful use of nuclear energy and will be put under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” [Note: See 31 October 1992, November 1992.]
—”Iran-China cooperation ‘for peaceful use’ of nuclear energy,” The Monitoring Report, 8 July 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

15 July 1993
According to US Energy Department officials, the Russian government is proceeding with plans to sell a VVER-440/V318 nuclear power plant to Iran.
—Ed Lane, “Russia Pursues Reactor Sales Despite Stiff U.S. Opposition,” Energy Daily, 15 July 1993, p. 10.

Second Quarter 1993
Various Iranian leaders visit the Czech Republic to try to finalize a number of deals arranged by Al Haj Azimi, vice-president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and Akbar Itamad, technical advisor to the Iranian Supreme National Security Council. The leaders involved include Ayatollah Mohajirani, an advisor on nuclear matters to President Hashemi-Rafsanjani, Reza Amrollahi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and nuclear physicist Mahdi Chamran, head of the Iranian VAVAK intelligence services.
Intelligence Newsletter, 2 September 1993, pp. 1, 5.

10 August 1993
Sergei Tertiakov, the Russian Ambassador to Iran, says Russia will complete the construction of the nuclear power plant in southern Iran started by the German company Siemens. In response to allegations made by the United States that Russian assistance amounts to arming Iran with nuclear weapons, Tertiakov says, “We have independent relations with Iran and have told the Americans that there is no obstacle on the way of our peaceful nuclear cooperation.”
—”Russia is ready to complete Iranian power plant: Russian ambassador,” Agence France Press, 10 August 1993, <www.lexis-nexis.com>.

27 August 1993
Russia’s Ambassador to Iran states that Washington has not produced any concrete proof supporting the accusations that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
—Moscow News, 27 August 1993, p. 5.

September 1993
A US House of Representatives subcommittee investigation documents that over 230 companies form the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, including over 50 US businesses, have sold materials and equipment to Iran useful in the production of weapons of mass destruction. These transactions were made with the approval of their government export-control officials, according to Kenneth R. Timmerman. Timmerman claims that since the US Congress passed additional restrictions on sensitive technology sales to Iran in October 1992, US companies have been permitted by the US Commerce Department to export centrifuges, gas separation devices, gas chromatographs, machine tools, mass spectrometers, and million-dollar supercomputers to Iran that can assist Iran in developing nuclear weapons. Between January 1993 and June 1993, one of these sensitive US high-technology exports was shipped straight to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Administration of the Department of Commerce Iain Baird calls Timmerman’s claims misleading, citing the Commerce Department’s full compliance with the 1992 National Defense Authorization Act. Baird adds that a $1 million computer exported to Iran was actually an outdated computer “attached to a well-logging system used in the oil and gas industry” which was not considered a national security concern.
—Kenneth R. Timmerman, “Caveat Venditor,” The New York Times, 25 October 1993, p. A19; Iain Baird, “Letter: On Trade Surveillance; U.S. Monitors High-Tech Exports to Iran,” The New York Times, 3 November 1993, p. A26.

September 1993
The United States proposes to the G-7 nations that COCOM [Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls] export restrictions be eased and a new system created to monitor the export of conventional weapons, raw materials, and dual-use technologies to developing countries. However, the United States will only weaken the restrictions in return for a pledge that the former socialist states will not export military technologies to developing countries engaged in regional conflicts, including Iran.
—Vladimir Mikheyev, Izvestiya (Moscow), 14 September 1993, p. 3; in FBIS Document FBIS-SOV-93-178, 16 September 1993, p. 14.

September 1993
Mohsen Nurbakhsh, Iran’s vice-president for economic affairs, declares to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that Iran will not seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction under any circumstances. Although the United States has claimed that Iran is attempting to develop chemical and nuclear weapons, Nurbakhsh states that Iran has adhered to all international agreements concerning the proliferation of chemical and nuclear weapons.
—Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran First Program Network (Tehran), 30 September 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-031, 8 October 1993, p. 16; Reuters, 29 September 1993.

2 September 1993
The Intelligence Newsletter reports that the French firm CKD is delivering nuclear materials to Iran. The report also says that a secret clause in a French-Iranian agreement, signed on 29 December 1991, provides for the resumption in 1994 on construction on three reactors in Iran.
Intelligence Newsletter, 2 September 1993, p. 16; Reuters, 29 September 1993.

27 September 1993
In a speech to the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference, Reza Amrollahi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, claims that Iran’s nuclear program is completely peaceful, that Iran is the first country to promote a nuclear-weapon-free zone for the Middle East, and that creating such a zone will be put on hold until Israel cooperates on nuclear issues. Amrollahi also says that Iran’s adherence to IAEA safeguards is clear and that Iran took the initiative of inviting the IAEA to visit Iran’s nuclear facilities.
—IRNA (Tehran) 29 February 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-031, 8 October 1993, p. 16; IRNA (Tehran), 28 November 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-034, 27 October 1993, pp. 27-28.

October 1993
Siemens challenges allegations that it is considering a plan to have a subsidiary of the Czech firm Skoda complete a reactor at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Intelligence sources say that Siemens has a share in the subsidiary. Siemens spokesman Wolfgang Breyer denies that his company is “involved in any activities whatsoever which would enable third parties to complete the Bushehr plant.”
—Robert S. Greenberger, Clinton Administration Accuses Bonn of Blocking its Efforts to Isolate Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, 14 October 1993, p. A18; Terence Roth, “Bonn Denies Blocking Effort to Pressure Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, 18 October 1993, p. A10.

October-November 1993
A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visits Iran, but like the previous visit in February 1992, it is not a full or special inspection mission. The team visits three nuclear research centers, at Tehran, Isfahan, and Karaj, but is not given full access to all activities nor to soil and particle samples at the sites.
—Anthony H. Cordesman, “Iran and Nuclear Weapons: A Working Draft,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 7 February 2000.

October 1993
Iranian officials state that “little progress has been made” on Iran’s purchase of Russian VVERs to be constructed at Bushehr.
—Mark Hibbs, Nucleonics Week, 14 October 1993, p. 9.

5 October 1993
Pinar Bakir, a Turkish businessman and economics professor, is arrested in Turkey for possession of 2.5kg of uranium, which he was allegedly smuggling from Russia to Iran. Four Iranians and four Turkish citizens are arrested in the raid while trying to purchase the uranium from Bakir. Police suspect the four Iranians of working for SAVAMA, the Iranian secret service. Police identify Turker Gelendost, who is among those arrested, as the central figure in the smuggling of the uranium from Russia to Turkey. According to chief of the police anti-smuggling department, Salih Gungor, visitors from Russia brought the uranium into Turkey, where they sold it to Turks. Deputy Head of the Turkish Cekmeci Nuclear Research Center Erol Balikcigil announces that the smuggled material “only has about 2.5 to 3.5% uranium-235 and cannot be used in nuclear weapons manufacture.” Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Alaeddin Borujerdi denies that Russian uranium is destined for Iran, calling the case a plot to undermine Turkish-Iranian relations and stating that Iran is willing to cooperate with Turkish security forces in the matter. Iran continues to deny that it is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Another Iranian is being sought in connection with the case. The uranium was to be sold for $40,000 per gram. However, a specialist at the Cekmeci Nuclear Research Center estimates that “the whole amount was worth only a few thousand dollars.”
—Meral Tamer, Milliyet (Istanbul), 9 October 1993, p. 6; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-036, 17 November 1993, p. 42; Istiklal Sevinc, Milliyet (Istanbul), 9 October 1993, p. 16; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-036, 17 November 1993, p. 42; Deutsche Press Agentur, 7 October 1993; Reuters, 7 October 1993; Reuters, 6 October 1993; in Executive News Service, 7 October 1993.

15 October 1993
The Wall Street Journal reports that Siemens, the company that held the contract to build the nuclear reactor in Bushehr, would be willing to aid Iran indirectly with the continuation of the reactor. Iran has been asking for export licenses from Germany for the continuation of the project. The Wall Street Journal further notes that Iranian Secret Service Minister Ali Fallahian met with representatives of Siemens in Munich. Siemens had signed a contract with the Czech company Skoda-Energo, and stated that they themselves would not be willing to end the construction of the reactor in Bushehr. The Czechs have just recently sold fuel rods from the closed Greifswald reactor. American intelligence services believe that Siemens may have been trying to give the Iranian Secret Service Minister access to these fuel rods through the Czechs.[Note: See 16 October for Siemens denial.]
—”Anger in the West about German-Iranian cooperation,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15 October 1993, p. 3; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>. [CNS Translation]

16 October 1993
A spokesperson for the German company Siemens refutes allegations made by the Wall Street Journal that there was a meeting between company officials and the Iranian Secret Service Minister Ali Fallahian. [Note: See 15 October 1993.] The spokesperson also says that the German government’s decision from 1991 not to extend export licenses for the continued construction of the reactor in Bushehr is considered binding. The paper also alleges that the venture between the Czech firm Skoda and Siemens is meant for turbine construction; this, however, is not true, as well as the allegations that the two companies would be involved in building nuclear reactors and their components together. The spokesperson considers the allegations that Siemens is trying to get fuel rods to Iran via the Czech company Skoda “grotesque.” He further states that Siemens does not have access to the fuel rods from the Czech Greifswald reactor, and that they would not even be useful in Bushehr because of the differences between the two reactors.
—”Siemens does not want to finish the Iranian nuclear reactor,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16 October 1993, p. 2; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>. [CNS Translation]

20 October 1993
At a meeting of NATO Defense Ministers to discuss strategies for countering a “growing nuclear threat from maverick nations and guerilla groups,” US Defense Secretary Les Aspin submits proposals to NATO that include plans to improve intelligence networks in order to identify technologies or nuclear arms that may have been obtained or were being sought by nations such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and others.
—Charles Aldinger, Reuters, 20 October 1993; in Executive News Service, 21 October 1993.

21 October 1993
Yossi Beilin, deputy foreign minister of Israel, says Israel is concerned with German firms’ attitude toward continuing nuclear trade with Iran. Israel cites Germany’s recent objections to placing economic sanctions on Iran at a G-7 meeting, as well as a rescheduling of $5 billion worth of debts owed by the Iranian government. Israel believes Germany is so inclined to do business with Iran that it may risk chastisement from the rest of European Community and the United States to make money.
—Evelyn Gordon, “Foreign Ministry Monitoring German Nuclear Sales to Iran,” The Jerusalem Post, 21 October 1993, p. 14; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

25 October 1993
US News and World Report reports that unidentified intelligence sources have claimed that scientists working in the Soviet Union’s nuclear program in Kazakhstan sold weapons-grade uranium to Iran. Sources also say that Iran has set up five separate, competing units to work on the nuclear weapons program, and that it has divided the program into smaller projects so that the necessary technology can be acquired without detection by the West. Iranian President Rafsanjani requested the assistance of Kazakh nuclear scientists to help Iran “develop its nuclear capability” during a visit to Kazakhstan. A meeting was reportedly held between Kazakhstani experts and Reza Amrollahi, the Iranian deputy president for atomic affairs and the chairman of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, on the topic of giving aid.
—”Copycatting,” US News and World Report, 25 October 1993; “Kazakhstan Seeks Iran’s Help to Develop Nuclear Capability,” in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-036, 17 November 1993, p. 44, Al-Shura (Beirut), 1 November 1993, p. 12.

28 October 1993
The French weekly Le Point reports that the Czech firm Skoda Plzen has signed a contract to provide Iran with technology for nuclear reactors in exchange for petroleum products.
—CTK (Prague), 9 December 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-94-001, 6 January 1994, pp. 8-9.

11 November 1993
Italian customs authorities seize eight steam condensers for nuclear reactors, manufactured by the Italian firm Ansaldo, and prevent them from being exported to Iran. Italian authorities suspect that the condensers, valued at about $15 million, could be used for nuclear weapons production, and they are attempting to determine if the shipment of sensitive equipment was intended to be concealed by shipping it first to Germany. The order for the eight condensers was originally placed with Breda Termomeccanica (subsequently acquired by Ansaldo) by the German firm Kraftwerk Union for use in an Iranian nuclear power plant, but delivery was prevented by an embargo instituted during the Iran-Iraq War. Special authorization was needed to export the steam condensers, and would have been necessary even prior to the September 1993 Italian export law which requires special authorization from the Trade Ministry for all dual-use equipment exports. [Note: See 13 November 1993.]
—Giorgio Cecchetti, La Republic (Rome), 12 November 1993, p. 23; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-037, 8 December 1993, pp. 54-55. “Background To Seizure Of Nuclear Shipment Bound For Iran Outlined” JPRS-TND-93-037, 8 December 1993, pp. 54-55; “Italian Police Seize Iran-Bound Consignment.” Reuters, 11 November 1993; “Iran: Nuclear Equipment Seized in Italy.” Intelligence Newsletter, 25 November 1993, p. 7; “Police Seize Nuclear Material Destined for Iran” RAI Televideo Teletext (Rome), 11 November 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-037, 8 December 1993, p. 54.

13 November 1993
An Italian judge confiscates parts deemed to be for nuclear reactors. The judge states that these parts can be used militarily and that they were meant to reach Iran. The parts are from the German company Siemens, whose spokesperson says that the steam generators that were confiscated are 16 years old and were supposed to be put into storage. Italy, along with most Western states, usually does not ship or transfer materials of such nature that can be used for military purposes. The steam generators were brought to the port of Marghera from Milan a couple of months ago. The Siemens spokesperson states that the generators were built in Italy in 1977 for the use in the reactor project in Iran. [Note: See 11 November 1993.]
—”For Iran intended reactor parts confiscated,” Neue Zuercher Zeitung, 13 November 1993, p. 3; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>. [CNS Translation]

14 November 1993
In response to allegations that Iran has links to eight generators seized in Italy, Iran says it “has no direct links to these generators and by publicizing the issue, the West pursues other aims.” The generators belong to the German company Siemens, which refuses to complete work on the Bushehr reactor in southern Iran despite pleas by the Iranian government to do so. [Note: See 11 and 13 November 1993.]
—”Iran Denies Link to Nuclear Generators seized in Italy,” Agence France Presse, 14 November 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

15 – 21 November 1993
A group of International Atomic Energy Agency officials, led by IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards Bruno Pellaud, visits Iranian nuclear facilities in Tehran, Isfahan, and Karaj. In December 1993, IAEA spokesman David Kyd reports that the officials “found no evidence which was inconsistent with Iran’s declaration that all its nuclear activities are peaceful.” Both the IAEA visit to Iran in November 1993 and an earlier IAEA visit to Iran in 1992 were carried out under “a standing invitation from Iran to discuss its nuclear program.” According to Kyd, the IAEA visit to Iranian nuclear facilities “was not an inspection per se but a familiarization visit” to see if anything had changed since the February 1992 IAEA visit to Iran. The visits were made partly in response to allegations in the West, including claims by members of Iranian opposition groups in exile and “pro-Israel researchers,” that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program. Like the previous IAEA visit in February 1992, it is not a full or special inspection mission. The team is not given full access to all activities nor to soil and particle samples at the sites.
—Anthony H. Cordesman, “Iran and Nuclear Weapons: A Working Draft,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 7 February 2000; Jomhuri-ye Eslami (Tehran), 4 December 1993, p. 14; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-002, 18 January 1994, pp. 14-15; Mark Hibbs, Nucleonics Week, 16 December 1993, pp. 10-11.

27 November – 3 December 1993
The director of the Czech firm Skoda Plzen, Lubomir Soudek, visits Tehran to discuss “energy cooperation” and “possible component deliveries for the construction of a nuclear power plant.” US intelligence sources believe that Iran has a clandestine program to develop nuclear arms and the United States fears that Czech supplies could help Iran produce nuclear waste from which it could extract plutonium for a nuclear bomb.
—Stephen Engelberg, New York Times; in San Francisco Chronicle, 16 December 1993, p. A15; CTK (Prague), 22 December 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-94-003, 31 January 1994, pp. 43-44.

December 1993
In response to pressure from the United States against Czech sales of nuclear components to Iran, the Czech government states that it “has not decided, nor does it intend to decide in the foreseeable future, on any shipments of nuclear technology to Iran.” Earlier in the month, the Czech minister of industry and trade had defended a possible deal between Skoda and Iran.
—Stephen Engelberg, New York Times; in San Francisco Chronicle, 16 December 1993, p. A15.

December 1993
A report in the Israeli daily Haaretz by analyst Danny Keshem alleges that the Czech firm Skoda Plzen is providing Westinghouse of the United States and Siemens of Germany with access to the Iranian nuclear market, thus violating “the restrictions imposed by their home countries on trade with Iran.” Skoda spokesman Jaroslav Hudec calls the report “misleading” and says that except for limited cooperation on a very specific set of products for nuclear power plants, Skoda has virtually no other connection with Westinghouse. Hudec adds that Skoda is involved in talks with Siemens, but only pertaining to joint production of turbines.
Lidove Noviny (Prague), 17 December 1993, p. 8; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-94-002, 18 January 1994, p. 38.

December 1993
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin asks Czech Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec to prevent export from the Czech Republic to Iran of equipment that can be used in Iran’s nuclear program, even for peaceful purposes, according to Israeli Ambassador to the Czech Republic Moshe Yegar. During his visit to Israel, Zieleniec claims that Czech exports could not be used by Iran for purposes that were not peaceful.
CTK (Prague), 22 December 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-94-003, 31 January 1994, pp. 43-44.

December 1993
Germany refuses to resume construction of the 80-percent-complete Siemens-built nuclear power plant at Bushehr for fear that it could be accused of helping advance Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
—Agence France Presse (Paris) 13 December 1992; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-93-001, 7 January 1993, p. 25.

5 December 1993
Kamal Kharazi, Iran’s representative to the United Nations, says Iran is committed to the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
—”Iran backs establishment of nuclear-free Middle East,” Moneyclips, 5 December 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

9 December 1993
North Korea and Iran conclude a fifth joint committee meeting centered around increasing economic, scientific, and technological ties. Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Foruzandeh led the Iranian delegation.
—Reuters, 10 December 1993; in Executive News Service, 10 December 1993; Reuters, 12 December 1993, in Executive News Service, 13 December 1993.

9 December 1993
The manager for technical service of nuclear power plants for the Czech firm Skoda Plzen, Frantisek Svitak, says that Iran wishes to build a nuclear power plant and that Skoda could provide it with reactor equipment through a Russian general supplier.
CTK (Prague), 9 December 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-94-001, 6 January 1994.

9 December 1993
Reuters reports that the US State Department warned Ukraine against selling nuclear or conventional weapons to Iran or other outlaw states. A State Department official says the Ukraine had assured the United States that it would “exercise restraint in arms transfers to areas of concern.”
—”U.S. Warns Ukraine Against Arms Sale To Iran,” Executive News Service, 9 December 1993; “Kiev Denies Nuclear Technology Sold to Libya, Pakistan.” UNIAN (Kiev), 6 October 1993; in FBIS-SOV-93-193, 7 October 1993, p. 54.

10 December 1993
US Undersecretary of State Lynn Davis reports that US intelligence indicates that scientists from the former Soviet Union have gone to Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, where they may be assisting in the development of nuclear weapons. Davis says that the migration of former Soviet scientists is hard to document and that she does not have details on the number of scientists or the actual work they are performing. According to Davis, the United States cannot prevent scientists from migrating where they want and selling their expertise, but it does “have better control on items and trade.”
—Carol Giacomo, “Ex-Soviet Scientists Said Going To Iran, Iraq,” Executive News Service, 10 December 1993 Reuters, 10 December 1993.

13 December 1993
Defense News reports that the CIA “believes that Iran could have nuclear weapons within eight to 10 years, even without critical assistance form abroad.”
—Theresa Hitchens and Brendan McNally, Defense News, 13-19 December 1993, p. 3.

19 December 1993
Russian Ambassador to Iran Sergei Tretyakov confirms that Russia will help Iran build a nuclear power plant, indicating that a preliminary agreement has been reached but that financing is still being negotiated. Financial problems stall Russia’s assistance to Iran in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr and in the completion of a second plant started by Germany but abandoned for political reasons. Iran has requested that Russia fund the projects, but Russia has refused due to its own financial crisis.
—Radio Rossii Network (Moscow), 19 December 1993; in FBIS Document FBIS0SOV-93-242, 20 December 1993, p. 53; Agence France Presse (Paris) 19 December 1993; in FBIS Document JPRS-TND-94-002, 18 January 1994, p. 39.

21 December 1993
Iran’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, Rasul Movahedian, asserts that Iran’s involvement with Skoda is directed only toward peaceful projects.
—John Mastrini, Reuters, 21 December 1993; in Executive News Service, 21 December 1993.

22 December 1993
Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s prime minister, “emphatically” asks Josef Zieleniec, Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, not to provide nuclear power components to Iran. Zieleniec denies that any exports to Iran could be used to aid in the development of nuclear weapons. Skoda Plzen, a Czech company with experience building nuclear power plants, recently admitted having discussions with Iran regarding “supplies of parts from a nuclear power plant.”
—”Israel Requests No Nuclear Supplies to Iran,” CTK National News Wire, 22 December 1993; in Lexis-Nexis, <http://www.lexis-nexis.com>.

Updated August 2005

// =0) {
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U.S. and Hostile Powers: Iran
IAEA Board Welcomes EU-Iran Agreement: Is Iran Providing Assurances or Merely Providing Amusement?
IAEA Board Deplores Iran’s Failue to Come into Full Compliance: Is Patience with Iran Running Out?
Iran and the IAEA: A Troubling Past with a Hopeful Future?
The Second NPT PrepCom for the 2005 Review Conference
WMD in the Middle East
Treaties and Organizations
Iranian Regime Defiant in Face of Aug. 31 Nuclear Deadline (2006)
Iran’s Nuclear Program: Recent Developments (2006)
In Focus: IAEA and Iran (2005)
Iran’s Game of Nuclear Poker: Knowing When to Fold (2005)
FAS: Iran Special Weapons Guide (2005)
For Tehran, Nuclear Program Is a Matter of National Pride (2005)
Curbing the Iranian Nuclear Threat: The Military Option (2004)
Iran: Countdown to Showdown (2004)
Shahab-3 (2004)
A Preemptive Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities: Possible Consequences (2004)
The Role of WMD in Iranian Security Calculations (2004)
Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions (2003)
Iran, Player or Rogue? (2003)
Iranian Missiles: The Nature of the Threat (2003)
Iran and Nuclear Weapons (2000)
Iran’s Nuclear Facilities: A Profile (1998)
Iran and CBW (1998)

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About This Section CNS Experts

CNSThis material is produced independently for NTI by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, agents. Copyright © 2003 by MIIS.



Nuclear Sites

Lashkar Ab’ad – Laser enrichment

Lashkar Ab’ad – Laser enrichment

Lashkar Ab’ad was Iran’s pilot plant for laser isotope separation until 2003.  This site contained equipment including copper vapor lasers (CVL) that were designed to produce enrichment levels of 3.5-7%.  The IAEA reported that the facility would have been capable of HEU production once all planned equipment was installed.  There were several foreign suppliers to the laser enrichment program, including the United States, Germany, and Russia.

Iran took steps to conceal this facility from the IAEA.  The IAEA first asked to visit Lashkar Ab’ad in May 2003 after the NCRI identified the site and said it was related to gas centrifuge activities.  Iran eventually relented and allowed inspection in August 2003.  Iran initially declared that Lashkar Ab’ad was devoted to laser fusion research and laser spectroscopy, and claimed that its laser program was unrelated to uranium enrichment.  Iran also claimed that no nuclear material had been involved in the experiments.

Iran changed its declaration and acknowledged to the IAEA in late-October 2003 that a pilot plant for laser enrichment had been established at Lashkar Ab’ad in 2000, after initial development work was conducted at TNRC.  Iran also stated that uranium laser enrichment experiments had been conducted in late 2002 and early 2003 using previously undeclared imported natural uranium metal.  It was only after this October revelation that the IAEA was allowed to take environmental samples at this site.  Some of the material and equipment from Lashkar Ab’ad was moved to Karaj in May 2003 to avoid detection by the IAEA.

In its report of February 2008, IAEA safeguards officials visited Lashkar Abad and reported that the laboratories were currently run by a private company producing and
developing laser equipment for industrial purposes.  The report also noted that the former laser equipment has been dismantled with some of it stored at the site.  The IAEA added: “The management of the company provided detailed information on current and planned activities, including plans for extensive new construction work, and stated that they are not carrying out, and are not planning, any uranium enrichment activities.”

See also Karaj Agricultural and Medical Center




In 1991, Iran contracted to purchase a turn-key, industrial scale conversion facility from China.  This contract was eventually canceled as a result of US pressure, but Iran retained the design information and built the plant on its own.  Construction of the UCF began in the late 1990s.

The UCF consists of several conversion lines, including the line for the conversion of yellowcake to UF6.  The annual production capacity of the UCF is 200 tonnes of uranium in the form of UF6. The UF6 iis slated for the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz.  The UCF is also able to convert yellowcake, LEU and depleted uranium into UO2 and depleted uranium metal.



Pars Trash (Tarash)

Pars Trash (Tarash)

Pars Trash, a subsidiary of Kalaye Electric located in Tehran, is another centrifuge site that received equipment from Kalaye Electric in particular for Iran’s P-2/IR-2 centrifuge development effort.

Pars Trash, a small company employing about ten people, is located in Tehran among warehouses and light industrial buildings about a kilometer west of the Kalaye Electric facility.  It manufactured the centrifuge’s outer casings. These are the thick aluminum tubes that house the centrifuge rotor assembly and, in the case of an accident, prevent broken pieces of the thin-walled rotor assembly, which can act like shrapnel, from injuring or even killing bystanders.  Pars Trash was originally a small private factory involved in making automobile parts.  It went bankrupt and was bought by the Kalaye Electric Company, or its subsidiary Farayand, for the three expensive computer-operated machine tools it owned, which could be adapted to the manufacture of centrifuge components.

An engineer married to the plant manager is believed to have been the backbone of the operation.  She programmed and set up the machines to make centrifuge components and ensured their quality, before turning the operation over to a technician who subsequently operated the automated machines to produce thousands of components.

The current status of operations at Pars is unknown as IAEA inspectors had access to the site only while Iran was adhering voluntarily to the Additional Protocol.



Iran’s Programs to Produce Plutonium and Enriched Uranium URANIUM …
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – View
Work on Iran’s uranium centrifuge enrichment program began in 1985. ….. From 1981 to 1993 Iran has carried out bench scale preparation of UO2 at ENTC. …


On Nov. 10, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report charging Iran with violating its obligations under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. In particular, the IAEA said that Tehran had been conducting experiments with imported nuclear material without informing the agency. The report also revealed that Iran had carried out a variety of clandestine nuclear activities for more than two decades. In doing so, it had deceived the agency on numerous occasions by concealing facilities and providing the IAEA with incomplete and false information. A discussion of the IAEA’s revelations follows.

Uranium Enrichment

Gas-Centrifuge Enrichment

Iran’s gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment program dates back to 1985 and currently consists of a small pilot facility at Natanz and a larger commercial facility under construction at the same location. Uranium-enrichment facilities can produce fissile material for nuclear weapons, as well as fuel for civilian nuclear power reactors.

Iran had previously claimed its gas-centrifuge program was completely indigenous and had not been used to test nuclear material, but both of these claims were proven false by the IAEA.

The IAEA first visited the Natanz facility in February. Its advanced state of operation led the agency to suspect that Iran had tested the centrifuges with nuclear material without first notifying the agency—a violation of its safeguards agreement. (See ACT, November 2003.) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei reported that IAEA environmental sampling showed that particles of both low-enriched and highly enriched uranium (LEU and HEU) had been present during that time at the Natanz facility, suggesting possible confirmation of the inspectors’ suspicions. Although LEU is used in civilian power plants, HEU can be used to build nuclear weapons. The presence of this material could be evidence that Iran produced weapons-grade uranium at Natanz and has nuclear material that it has not yet declared to the IAEA—each a violation of its safeguards agreement. At the time, however, Iran blamed the material’s presence on contaminated, imported components and continues to do so.

Meanwhile, Iran introduced nuclear material into the Natanz facility’s centrifuges under IAEA safeguards in June, although the IAEA Board of Governors had issued a statement earlier that month encouraging Iran not to do so. Tehran accelerated its tests in August but, in an October deal with European foreign ministers, agreed to suspend its uranium-enrichment activities. At the time, Iran did not say when the suspension would take effect, but the new IAEA report says Iran told the IAEA that it would suspend its enrichment activities effective Nov. 10. (See ACT, November 2003.)

Iran also admitted Oct. 21 to using small amounts of uranium hexafluoride to test centrifuges at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran between 1999 and 2002, according to the report. Centrifuges spin uranium hexafluoride gas in cylinders to increase the concentration of the relevant isotopes. Iran had previously acknowledged producing centrifuge components there but denied conducting any tests with nuclear material. Iran dismantled “the test facility at the end of 2002,” according to the report.

Activities at the Kalaye facility have been contentious because Iran had hindered IAEA investigations there and prevented agency inspectors from conducting environmental sampling until August. These samples also detected HEU and LEU particles, a finding Iran also attributes to contaminated components. Tehran maintains it only enriched uranium at Kalaye to a degree that is not suitable for weapons.

Iran continued to obstruct the IAEA’s investigation of the Kalaye facility until recently, according to the report. Tehran initially told agency inspectors that the centrifuges had been destroyed but later admitted to their existence and allowed the IAEA to inspect them Oct. 30-31. The components had been stored elsewhere in Iran, but it is unclear how the agency became aware of this fact.

In the Nov. 24 issue of Time magazine, ElBaradei said that five European and Asian countries supplied Iran with the components and that the agency will discuss the matter with those governments.

In a further misstep, Iran tested the centrifuges with uranium hexafluoride imported in 1991. A June agency report pointed out that Iran not only violated its safeguards agreement by failing to report the imported material but also could not account for some of the material, raising suspicions that Iran had conducted illicit enrichment experiments. At the time, Iran said the material had leaked from its containers.

Laser Enrichment

According to the report, Iran told the IAEA Oct. 21 that it had been pursuing a laser-based uranium-enrichment program since 1991. An August IAEA report stated that Iran had previously acknowledged a research and development program involving lasers, but not an enrichment program.

IAEA inspectors visited a site called Lashkar Ab’ad in August. Although they did not find any activities related to uranium enrichment being conducted there, the agency asked Iran to confirm that there had not been any past “activities related to uranium laser enrichment” at any location in the country and to allow environmental sampling at that location. Iran allowed inspectors to conduct sampling on Oct. 6 and told the IAEA Oct. 21 that it conducted laser-enrichment experiments with undeclared imported uranium metal at a site in Tehran until October 2002.

Iran later told the IAEA during an Oct. 27-Nov. 1 visit that it had established “a pilot plant for laser enrichment” at Lashkar Ab’ad in 2000 and conducted enrichment experiments there between October 2002 and January 2003. Iran dismantled the equipment in May and presented it to IAEA inspectors on Oct. 28, according to the report.

Other Concerns


The IAEA found that Iran separated a “small amount” of plutonium from spent fuel produced in a research reactor in Tehran—an action Iran was obligated to report to the IAEA. Reprocessing activities have caused concern because Iran has nearly completed a light-water reactor (LWR) at Bushehr and has announced plans to build a heavy-water reactor, each of which produce plutonium. LWRs are considered more proliferation resistant. Such reprocessing can also produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Uranium Conversion

Iran announced in March that it had completed a facility located near Isfahan for converting uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride. Iran first told the IAEA that it had completed the facility without having tested it with nuclear material but later admitted to conducting uranium-conversion experiments in the early 1990s. (See ACT, September 2003.) Iran was required to disclose these experiments to the IAEA.

According to the November report, Iran told the IAEA Oct. 9 that it conducted previously undisclosed uranium-conversion experiments with multiple phases of the conversion process between 1981 and 1993. Iran also admitted that it was planning to produce uranium metal for use in its laser-enrichment program. In June, a Department of State official noted that Iran would most likely use uranium metal in nuclear warheads.

The report also states that Iran failed to provide design information about the facilities where the concealed nuclear activities took place, as is required by its safeguards agreement.