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IAEA General Conference Opens --> (CTK) September 18, 2006 -- A general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) opens today in Vienna.

Iran's nuclear program is expected to top the agenda of the week-long gathering. Iran is under international pressure to suspend its uranium-enrichment program.

IAEA Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei said today he remains "hopeful" Iran and Europe will be able to move toward "long-overdue negotiations."

Meanwhile, Iran today said it was ready to discuss all questions on its nuclear program, but reaffirmed it would not accept any conditions before entering formal talks.

Government spokesman Gholam Hossein said that Iran and the international community can "have negotiations when there are no threats and preconditions."

According to the AFP news agency, some Arab states are expected to use the gathering to press for action against Israel and its alleged nuclear arsenal.


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)


Tehran Says It Is Working On Advanced Nuclear Fusion

Would Light-Water Reactor Suit Tehran's Needs?

Satellite Images Raise Questions About Iran's Nuclear Program

Centrifuges And Political Spin?

How Close Is Iran To Getting Nuclear Bomb?

Iran: The Worst-Case Scenarios

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


An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.