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Arab Gulf States Say They Want Nuclear Technology

December 10, 2006 -- Gulf Arab states have expressed their desire for nuclear-energy capability and ordered a study on a possible joint atomic program.

At the end of a two-day summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, members said in a statement that they are seeking technology solely for peaceful purposes.

The statement also called on Iran to cooperate with the international community over its nuclear energy program, which Western countries suspect is aimed at acquiring atomic weapons.

Iranian ISNA news agency today quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini as warning that Iran will revise its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if the UN Security Council imposes sanctions over the disputed program.

He also said European countries -- presumably Britain, France, and Germany -- have taken a wrong turn in relation to Iran.

"The present draft [UN resolution] is more in line with the U.S. interfering policies," Hosseini was quoted as saying. "The three European countries have adopted a very wrong approach, and we hope that they revise their policies and return to the talks."

Washington and others have accused Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, an allegation that Tehran staunchly rejects.

The IAEA has repeatedly criticized Iran for its failure to disclose aspects of its nuclear program and said it has not been convinced that such work is not aimed at military objectives.

The Gulf Cooperation Council comprises the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait.

(Reuters, AP)

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.