VIENNA — A senior US envoy yesterday backed UN assessments that Iran may be continuing secret work on developing nuclear weapons, indirectly contradicting American intelligence estimates in the public domain that such activities stopped eight years ago.
The comments by envoy Glyn Davies played off recent remarks by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano, whose attempts to follow up on allegations that Iran had conducted such clandestine experiments have been rebuffed by Tehran.
In a confidential report late last month, Amano expressed concern about the possible existence of “current undisclosed nuclear related activities . . . related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile’’ and other work directly linked to a weapons program.
The comments were significant because they differed from what has been publicly said by American intelligence agencies. The latest information in the public domain is a summary of a National Intelligence Agency Estimate from 2007 that says Tehran apparently abandoned attempts to develop nuclear weapons in 2003.
US officials said last month that a newly drawn up National Intelligence Estimate concludes Iran’s leaders are split over whether to use their nuclear program to develop atomic weapons. But they did not specify whether the new document revised the 2007 conclusion that Iran had stopped direct work on its arms program.