Saturday 15 December 2007

Germany expelled Iran diplomat for atomic work - Spiegel

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany expelled an Iranian diplomat in July after he tried to acquire components for the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear programme, a magazine reported on Saturday.

The Der Spiegel weekly said the expulsion came after the diplomat contacted a specialist firm in the southern state of Bavaria to buy a systems control component which would be essential in the enrichment of uranium.

The magazine cited no sources but identified the consulate attache involved as "Mohraramali D".

The Foreign Ministry declined to comment. Authorities in Tehran were not immediately available to comment.

The magazine did not say whether the component would have been for high-grade enrichment, for bomb material, or low-grade enrichment, which Iran says it carries out to make power plant fuel.

Iran denies it wants a nuclear bomb and says its atomic work is aimed at boosting civilian power generation.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran for failing to comply to demands to suspend its uranium enrichment, a process the West believes Tehran is trying to master to enable it to build nuclear weapons.

European Union leaders on Friday reiterated their support for possible additional sanctions against Iran if it does not stop enrichment work. The EU has also offered support if Tehran does give it up.

However, a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate this month said Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons programme in 2003.

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