Iran Says Nuclear Equipment Was Sabotaged

Associated Press – September 23, 2012

Iran on Saturday accused the German technology company Siemens of planting tiny explosives inside equipment Iran bought for its disputed nuclear program, a charge Siemens denied.

Aladdin Boroujerdi, a prominent lawmaker, said Iranian security experts discovered the explosives and removed them before detonation. The authorities believe that the booby-trapped equipment was sold to derail uranium enrichment efforts, he said.

Siemens said its nuclear division had had no business with Iran since the 1979 revolution.

Any sale of nuclear equipment to Iran is banned under United Nations sanctions, raising the possibility that if the country indeed has some, it was acquired through third parties.

Mr. Boroujerdi did not say when or how Iran had obtained Siemens equipment. Despite a wide array of international sanctions, Germany remains one of Iran’s most important trading partners.

The United States and its allies suspect that Iran’s nuclear work is aimed at producing weapons. Iran says it wants to enrich uranium only for peaceful purposes, and asserts that it has been the target of a concerted campaign by Israel, the United States and their allies to undermine its nuclear efforts covertly.

Some Iranian officials have also suggested that specific European companies sold faulty equipment to Iran with the knowledge of American intelligence agencies and their own governments, since the sales would have harmed the country’s nuclear program.

Fereydoon Abbasi, Iran’s most senior nuclear energy official, said on Monday that separate explosions — which he attributed to sabotage — had cut power supplies to Iran’s two main enrichment facilities.

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