Pakistan aided Iran nuclear effort in '95


A new assessment of Iran's nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency says Pakistan, as early as 1995, was providing Tehran with designs for sophisticated centrifuges capable of making bomb-grade nuclear fuel. It also finds evidence that, as of mid-July, Iran had assembled and tested key components for 70 of the machines, which it showed to inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

But the report, issued yesterday as a confidential document to member countries of the IAEA, provided no new evidence of the kind of covert programs that the agency has found over the past year, and suggested that the Iranian government was slowly becoming more helpful to inspectors.

That assessment, U.S. officials said, is likely to discourage moves by the Bush administration to seek U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran unless it dismantles its nuclear program.

Iran contends that its nuclear program is intended to produce electricity, but the United States says it is designed to produce atomic weapons.

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