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Iran Wants UN To Pressure Israel On Nuclear Weapons


December 20, 2006 -- Iran is calling on the United Nations Security Council to pressure Israel to scrap its alleged nuclear weapons arsenal.


A letter from Iranian UN Ambassador Javad Zarif says peace and security cannot be achieved in the Middle East while the Israeli arsenal threatens the region.


The letter cited recent comments by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in which Olmert appeared to list Israel among countries that have nuclear weapons.


Olmert's office said the comments were misunderstood.


Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, but has never confirmed such reports.


(compiled from agency reports)

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.


CHRONOLOGY

An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.

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