The French daily Le Monde has obtained documents showing that Iran has pursued a nuclear weapons program after 2003, contrary to the American National Intelligence Estimate report in December that Tehran had halted its weapons program.
The main document is a 2004 letter written by engineer Mahdi Khaniki, Iran’s former ambassador to Syria, to the vice president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
In the letter Khaniki noted that inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had demanded to see contracts for the purchase of spare parts used in the development of centrifuges, which can be used to enrich uranium to weapons grade.
Khaniki wrote that at meeting held on January 31, 2004, the chief negotiator of the Iranian nuclear program at the time “decided that these contracts should be prepared in accordance to the AEOI's wishes, so they would be ready to be delivered to the IAEA…
“Portions of these contracts, which this writer viewed at the Ministry of Defense, were crossed out with black lines and the quantities did not appear; therefore, it seems that these contracts will raise more questions than those which [normally] should be submitted to the Agency [IAEA]."
Le Monde, citing sources close to an intelligence service, reported that this letter was part of "Project 13," a program allegedly aimed at deceiving the IAEA inspectors.
According to the Middle East Times, Iranian experts “believe this letter represents clear evidence of the involvement of the Iranian defense ministry in the nuclear program, and confirms the efforts of the Iranians to conceal” this connection.
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