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25 Sep, 2014 03:39

‘Highly reliable info’: Israel accuses Iran of nuclear weapons tests ahead of Rouhani’s UNGA speech

‘Highly reliable info’: Israel accuses Iran of nuclear weapons tests ahead of Rouhani’s UNGA speech

​The day before the Iranian president’s address to the UN General Assembly, Israel issued a statement, again accusing the Islamic Republic of allegedly testing technology that could only be used for nuclear bombs.

Based on “highly reliable information,” according to the statement from Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, Tel Aviv has accused Tehran of using internal neutron sources such as uranium in nuclear implosion tests at the Parchin military complex.

The statement claimed that the tests occurred back in 2000-2001, during the construction of what it called a “nuclear weaponization test site in Parchin.”

“It is important to emphasize that these kinds of tests can have no 'dual use' explanation, since the only possible purpose of such internal neutron sources is to ignite the nuclear chain reaction in nuclear weapons,” the Israeli statement said, referring to materials that can be applied in both civilian and military nuclear research.

...and Israel says Iran tested nuke detonators at this base http://t.co/zU0c5eU8m2#Parchin@DigitalGlobepic.twitter.com/F5md1snUvi

— Jeff Harrison (@JeffHarrison) September 24, 2014

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have repeatedly requested full access to the Parchin nuclear facility outside Tehran where the agency suspects revamping activity, while Iran in exchange seeks a long-term deal to stop speculation over its nuclear program.

In its 2011 report into Iran's nuclear activity, the IAEA indicated that Iran may have conducted nuclear experiments but did not specify where they might have taken place. The report identified 12 specific areas that it said needed clarification, including alleged work on a neutron initiator that triggers an atomic explosion, and explosive tests at Parchin.

Fresh speculation come just in time, as Rouhani is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Thursday, which will be the second time for the Iranian president.

It is still unknown if Rouhani will again meet with US President Barack Obama following last year's breakthrough in bilateral relations where the counterparts spoke by phone on the sidelines of the UNGA. The phone conversation was the first direct communication in decades between the heads of state of the two countries.

Following the improvement in relations, an interim accord on Iran's nuclear issue was reached between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Geneva last November. So far no permanent agreement has been signed and with the July deadline missed a new deadline has been set for November 24.

Israel which is critical of US rapprochement with Iran once again warned that it is “worried” as there are “signs that the powers will agree to accept Iran as a nuclear threshold state,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.

Rouhani responds to Obama: We're ready for a deal, the other side should be serious & make a deal. #IranTalksNYCpic.twitter.com/oCJOVxAUVz

— Negar Mortazavi (@NegarMortazavi) September 24, 2014

Meanwhile Rouhani, speaking at the New America Foundation event held in New York, told the audience that if the nuclear standoff is solved, a desirable space will open for the people of Iran and the US to collaborate.

If we are able to reach a #nuclear agreement, a new atmosphere would emerge in US-Iran relations, which I believe would benefit both nations

— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) September 24, 2014

He also said that “illegal” and “inhuman” sanctions by America against Iran must be lifted.

Right now, meeting with UK Prime Minister @David_Cameron@Number10gov. #ConstructiveEngagement#WAVEpic.twitter.com/6F9ZZichlP

— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) September 24, 2014

Also on Wednesday “a little bit of history was made” as the British PM David Cameron met with the Iranian leader for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution. No details of the conversations have been made public.

After leaving the hour-long meeting with Rouhani, Cameron is overheard telling an aide: "A little bit of history made."

— Emily Ashton (@elashton) September 24, 2014