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IAEA Says U.S. Report On Iran 'Erroneous' --> Muhammad el-Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (file photo) (epa) September 14, 2006 -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has protested to the U.S. government over what it says is false information about Iran's nuclear program.

In a letter sent to the head of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Intelligence, the IAEA says a recent U.S. report describing Iran's nuclear program as a strategic threat contains "erroneous, misleading, and unsubstantiated information."

The letter says the U.S. report states that Iran is enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels. The IAEA says that claim is not true. The UN nuclear watchdog says Iran is enriching uranium to 3.6 percent, far below the 90 percent needed to produce nuclear weapons.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says the agency protested the U.S. report as it "had to set the record straight with regards to the facts."

(AFP, Reuters)

Talking Technical

A control panel at the Bushehr nuclear power plant (Fars)

CASCADES AND CENTRIFUGES: Experts and pundits alike continue to debate the goals and status of Iran's nuclear program. It remains unclear whether the program is, as Tehran insists, a purely peaceful enegy project or, as the United States claims, part of an effort to acquire nuclear weapons.
On June 7, 2006, RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel spoke with nuclear expert Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden to help sort through some of the technical issues involved. "[Natanz] will be quite a large plant," Kile said. "There will be about 50,000 centrifuges and how much enriched uranium that can produce [is] hard to say because the efficiency of the centrifuges is not really known yet. But it would clearly be enough to be able to produce enough [highly-enriched uranium] for a nuclear weapon in fairly short order, if that's the route that they chose to go...." (more)


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THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.


An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.