Moscow believes Iran has developed a large nuclear device in its “preliminary stage.”
Russian FM Sergei Lavrov put this information before the five permanent UN Security Council and Germany, which Tuesday night, Jan. 30, agreed for the first time to haul Iran before the UN body over its nuclear program. Until then, Moscow and Beijing had stood out against the UN nuclear watchdog’ referring the Iran dossier to the Security Council. Tehran hit back Wednesday by saying the decision was unconstructive and the end of diplomacy
According to Lavrov, Russian intelligence estimates that Iran is now capable of detonating this non-weaponized nuclear device - or in other words carrying out its first nuclear test.
DEBKAfile sources add: This estimate which Russian president Vladimir Putin passed to President George Bush some weeks ago is challenged by US and Israeli nuclear experts, who do not believe Iran is up to the stage of a nuclear device. However, on Jan. 21, the opposition FDI claimed Iran would carry out its first nuclear test before the Iranian new year, which falls on March 20. READ MORE
Ahead of the IAEA’s Thursday meeting in Vienna, a leaked report claimed Iran had last week given the watchdog sensitive documents which apparently showed how to mold highly enriched uranium into the hemispherical shape of warheads, in an effort to stave off referral to the Security Council. At the same time, according to the same unnamed diplomats, the agency passed to Tehran intelligence provided by the US that suggests Iran has been working on details of nuclear weapons, such as missile trajectories and ideal altitudes for exploding warheads. When the IAEA asked Iran for an explanation of the documents, Tehran replied they had been obtained from members of a nuclear black market network.
Still ahead of the nuclear watchdog’s meeting, Moscow and Beijing dispatched diplomats to Tehran to explain that their support for referral to the Security Council did not mean an end to diplomacy.
Referring the issue to the UN would have a “very big effect” on oil prices, Libyan Energy Scretary Fathi Hamed bin-Shatwan said Tuesday at an OPEC meeting in Vienna.