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Saturday, 8 September, 2001, 06:02 GMT 07:02 UK
Iran 'pursuing nuclear programme'
guided missile
Iran is accused of stockpiling weapons
A report by the American Central Intelligence Agency has accused Iran of having one of the world's most active programmes to acquire nuclear weapons.

The CIA Director, George Tenet, told the United States Congress that Iran was seeking missile-related technology from a number of countries including Russia and China.

The report says Tehran is trying to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Tehran is attempting to develop a domestic capability to produce various types of weapons... and their delivery systems

CIA report
The report highlights the help given by Russia in the building of a nuclear reactor at Bushehr, which the CIA says could be used to advance Iran's nuclear weapons programme.

The report also alleges that Iran, which Washington accuses of sponsoring international terrorism, is stockpiling chemical and biological weapons.

Developing technology

The report, issued every six months, tracks the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, biological and high-tech conventional weapons.

"Tehran is attempting to develop a domestic capability to produce various types of weapons... and their delivery systems," it says.

According to Mr Tenet, during the second half of 2000 "entities in Russia, North Korea and China continued to supply crucial ballistic missile-related equipment, technology and expertise to Iran".

Iran also has stocks of chemical weapons and is seeking more, as well as the ability to make their own from "entities in Russia and China".

Nuclear reactor

During the six-month period that the report focuses on, Russia continued to help Iran build a 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

The report says that the expertise and technology gained from this enterprise could also "be used to advance Iran's nuclear weapons research and development programme".

The US intelligence community predicts that within the next 15 years, the US will most likely face intercontinental ballistic missile threats from North Korea, probably from Iran and possibly from Iraq.

See also:

28 Dec 00 | Middle East
Russia and Iran open 'new chapter'
06 Dec 00 | Middle East
US warns on Iran arms plan
12 Mar 01 | Middle East
Russia backs Iran nuclear programme
14 Jan 99 | Americas
US moves on Russian nuclear links
20 Dec 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Iran
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