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Iran rejects NY Times atom bomb report

Source: Press TV (first Iranian international news network) | November 21st, 2008
Industry type: Nuclear Industry

Iran has rejected a New York Times report which claimed the country has produced enough nuclear material to make ‘a single atom bomb’.

The latest UN nuclear watchdog report on Iran, released Wednesday, disclosed that the country had ‘produced approximately 630 kilograms [1,390 pounds] of low enriched UF6’.

UF6 is used in the uranium enrichment process that produces fuel for nuclear reactors and weapons.

Later, the New York Times, citing nuclear experts, reported that the amount of UF6 at the disposal of Iran ‘was enough for a bomb’.

The nuclear experts, meanwhile, cautioned that the milestone was ‘mostly symbolic’ because to produce a nuclear bomb, Iran would have to ‘breach its international agreements and kick out the (UN nuclear watchdog) inspectors’ and put an extremely purified fuel — which Iran does not possess the technology to produce — ‘into a warhead design’, the report added.

On Friday, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh, categorically rejected the report as ‘unjustified and politically motivated’.

All enrichment activities at Iranian nuclear sites are being controlled through the 24-hour surveillance of IAEA cameras, the Iranian envoy told Press TV.

The IAEA report, meanwhile, clearly declared that UN inspectors, during announced and some twenty unannounced visits to Iran’s fuel enrichment plant, have found that the country has only managed to enrich uranium to a level of ‘less than five percent’.

The rate is consistent with the development of a nuclear power plant — nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

Soltaniyeh stressed that enriched uranium containers at Iranian facilities are ‘sealed’ and under the surveillance of UN nuclear watchdog agents.

Western countries, headed by the White House, accuse Iran of having plans to develop a military nuclear program.

Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), denies the allegation, insisting its activities are directed at the civilian applications of the technology.