Iran has reportedly released information about its nuclear program nearly six years after regulators first began requesting it. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the monitoring arm of the United Nations, announced that they have begun to receive the requested information about the development of detonators at the country’s facilities. In the report, no specific details were recorded about what data on the so-called “exploding bridge wire detonators” Iran provided.
The issue regarding the detonators is just one of many questions American and European intelligence agencies have about a suspected secret weapons-design program in Iran. International nuclear inspectors have repeatedly requested the release of evidence regarding experiments they suspect of being used to explore the complex science of detonating a nuclear weapon. Nearly a decade ago, an Iranian scientist recruited by Western intelligence agencies smuggled a laptop computer out of the country that included diagrams, videos and other results that appeared to strongly suggest interest in weapons design.
The negotiations over the evidence of weapons work have been taking place on a separate track from the talks between Iran and the major powers about its nuclear enrichment program. The release of the information signals a significant change in tactics in Tehran, as leaders have refused to answer questions about the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s program for years. In the past, Iranian officials have often claimed that the queries are based on fabrications of evidence by the West and lies circulated by the C.I.A.
The atomic agency recently released a report that detailed major progress made by Iran in diluting its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium. This type of uranium is the nuclear fuel that the West has feared could be converted into weapons-grade material relatively quickly. The dilution of the stockpile was part of the interim deal struck last year. That deal paved the way for the current negotiations to begin.
Iran has repeatedly insisted that the detonators in question are intended for non-nuclear purposes. The atomic agency inspectors are permitted to visit fuel production areas daily, but the scientist that the United States, Israel and others claim ran many of the main weapons-research operations has had his access to the facilities blocked.