U.S. Makes Case for Iran Bomb

VIENNA -- The United States has recently shared new sensitive information with the International Atomic Energy Agency on key aspects of Iran's nuclear program that Washington says shows Tehran was directly engaged in trying to make an atomic weapon, diplomats said Thursday.

One of the diplomats said Washington also gave the IAEA permission to confront Iran with at least some of the evidence in an attempt to pry details out of the Islamic republic on the activities, as part of the UN nuclear watchdog's attempts to investigate Iran's suspicious nuclear past.

The diplomats suggested that such moves by the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush were a reflection of Washington's drive to pressure Iran into admitting that it had focused part of its nuclear efforts on developing a weapons program.

While the Americans have previously declassified and then forwarded intelligence to the IAEA to help its investigations, they do so on a selective basis.

Following Israel's bombing of a Syrian site late last year and media reports citing unidentified U.S. officials as saying that the target was a nuclear installation, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei turned in vain to the United States in asking for details on what was struck, said a diplomat who -- like others -- asked for anonymity in exchange for divulging confidential information.