Iran can make nuclear weapons - but won´t, says top politician (GUARDIAN UK) Damien Pearse and agencies 04/08/12)
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Statement is first time an Iranian politician has admitted country
has capability to produce nuclear arms
Iran has the technological capability to produce nuclear weapons but
will never do so, a prominent politician in the Islamic republic has
The statement by Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam is the first time an
Iranian politician has publicly stated that the country has the
knowledge and skills to produce a nuclear weapon.
Moghadam, whose views do not represent the government´s policy, said
Iran could easily create the highly enriched uranium that is used to
build atomic bombs, but it was not Tehran´s policy to go down that
Moghadam told the parliament´s news website, icana.ir: "Iran has the
scientific and technological capability to produce [a] nuclear
weapon, but will never choose this path."
The US and its allies believe Iran is using its civilian nuclear
programme as a cover to develop nuclear weapons; a charge it denies.
Israel said Mghadam´s claim supported its view that Iran´s nuclear
programme had a military dimension. An Israeli official repeated
demands that Iran must stop enriching uranium, remove all military-
grade enriched material from the country, and dismantle its Fordo
nuclear research site.
Iran´s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly
insisted that his country is not seeking nuclear weapons, saying that
holding such arms is a sin and "useless, harmful and dangerous".
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that if Iran one day decides
to build nuclear weapons, it will do so openly and without fear.
Iran says it is enriching uranium to about 3.5% to produce nuclear
fuel for its future reactors, and to around 20% to fuel a research
reactor that produces medical isotopes to treat cancer. Uranium has
to be enriched to more than 90% to be used for a nuclear weapon.
The UN nuclear agency has confirmed that centrifuges at the Fordo
site near Iran´s holy city of Qom are producing uranium enriched to
20%. It says uranium enriched to that level can more quickly be
turned into weapons-grade material.
"There is a possibility for Iran to easily achieve more than 90%
enrichment," icana.ir quoted Moghadam as saying. (guardian.co.uk ©
Guardian News and Media Limited 2012 04/08/12)
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