Iran sought nuclear parts in China: Report
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Iran tried to smuggle thousands of specialised magnets through China for its centrifuges, in an effort to speed its path to reaching nuclear weapons capability, according to a new United States (US) report.
The report, by a renowned American nuclear scientist, said the operation highlighted the importance of China as a transit point for Iran's nuclear programme, and called for sanctions against any Chinese firms involved.
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) report said an Iranian front company used a Chinese commercial website to try to acquire 100,000 ring-shaped magnets, which it is banned from importing under United Nations (UN) sanctions, in late 2011.
Two magnets were needed for each of 50,000 first-generation centrifuges used to enrich uranium at Iran's nuclear plants, in a process that Western powers say is designed to build nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.