Washington: Iran apparently had the help of
a noted Russian scientist in developing a detonator and high explosives for its nuclear programme, a Washington-based non-governmental group has said.
The Institute for Science and International Security
(ISIS) identified Russian scientist Vycheslav Danilenko as
having had the know-how to help Iran weaponise its atomic
programme in a report released yesterday.
It based its conclusion on the findings issued last week
by the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), which expressed serious concerns about "credible"
evidence of Iran working towards the development of nuclear
warheads to fit inside its medium-range missiles.
The IAEA said there were "strong indications that the
development by Iran of the high explosives initiation system,
and its development of the high speed diagnostic configuration
used to monitor related experiments were assisted by the work
of a foreign expert."
The expert "was not only knowledgeable in these
technologies... (but) worked for much of his career with this technology in the nuclear weapon programme of the country of his origin," the IAEA said.
"Given his background and experience, this ex-Soviet
nuclear weapons expert was well versed in key aspects of
developing nuclear weapons," the ISIS report said, adding that
Danilenko also has experience "in the important area of the
diagnostics of high explosions."
The ISIS report noted that according to the IAEA
Danilenko contacted the Iranian embassy in mid-1995, offering
his particular expertise in producing ultra-dispersed diamonds
(UDD or nanodiamonds).
He worked at Iran`s Sharif University and under the aegis
of Dr Seyed Abbas Shahmoradi, who headed the country`s Physics
"As head of Iran`s secret nuclear sector involved in the
development of nuclear weapons, Shahmoradi would have
undoubtedly recognized Danilenko`s value to an incipient
nuclear weapons effort," the ISIS report said.