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Report: Czechs Thwart Iranian Plot to Buy Nuclear Material from US Company

Czech Republic officials thwarted an attempt by the government of Iran to purchase a “large shipment” of nuclear material, using “false documentation” in an attempt to secure its safe passage to Tehran, according to unnamed “U.N. experts and Western sources,” who told Reuters late Wednesday.

The news of Iran’s alleged illegal activity comes as world powers have until June 30 to reach a final agreement with Tehran on its nuclear enrichment program. The basic framework for an agreement, which was reached on April 2, is premised on Iran’s pledge that the Ayatollah’s regime would not pursue nuclear weapons. But such a breach of conduct may add doubt into the minds of negotiators, who are seeking a diplomatic solution to Iran’s drive towards obtaining nukes.

The United Nations Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee revealed details about Tehran’s illegal activity to Reuters, according to the news service.

In January, using false documentation, Tehran tried to buy compressors made by U.S.-owned, Prague-based company Howden CKD Compressors, the UN committee report stated. The purchase may have been successful, had not the Czech Republic blocked the transaction, after authorities recognized the clandestine plot and stepped in to cancel the purchase.

Czech authorities found that a “false end user” was given for the order. “The procurer and transport company involved in the deal had provided false documentation in order to hide the origins, movement and destination of the consignment with the intention of bypassing export controls and sanctions,” said the UN report.

An official told Reuters that the purchase was valued at 1.5 billion Czech koruna, or $61 million U.S. dollars.

Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Reuters:

“Such compressors can be used to extract uranium directly from the cascades. In particular, they are useful when working with higher enrichment such as 20 percent enriched uranium.”

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