A day before a meeting in Paris between envoys from Europe's big three and the Islamic government's representatives, diplomats in Vienna said the Islamic authorities were trying to buy a gas that can be used to boost the blast of an atomic bomb.
July 28, 2004 - Iran is trying to make or buy a gas that can boost the impact of a nuclear explosion, unnamed Vienna diplomats told reporters on Wednesday, a day a meeting in Paris between envoys from three big European countries and the Islamic Republic representatives.
Citing an intelligence report, the diplomats identified the substance as deuterium gas, which can also be used to generate electricity in a nuclear reactor. One diplomat said Iranian agents were trying to buy the gas on the Russian market and had plans to manufacture it domestically.
Beyond increasing the punch of nuclear warheads, the gas also is a key component for heavy-water nuclear reactors. Iran is building a heavy-water facility, which it says will be used to generate electricity.
One of the diplomats said the Islamic government was likely looking for the substance "to get the reactor going." Still, the reactor is one of dozens of Iranian projects that have raised questions about its nuclear aims, the Associated Press said in a dispatch from Vienna.
The new charges were circulated as Britain, France and Germany are due to meet in Paris on Thursday with Islamic government envoys in an effort to persuade Tehran to end uranium enrichment activities.
"The Iranians want to drive a wedge between the Europeans and the US and to drag this process out as long as they can in order to do what they want to do in terms of developing a nuclear capability," a senior US official said, according to Reuters.
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