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Official Claims Iran Can 'Mass Produce' Centrifuges


http://gdb.rferl.org/DBF4F959-5285-4829-9D81-2CD7D2AAE778_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/DBF4F959-5285-4829-9D81-2CD7D2AAE778_mw800_mh600.jpg Ali Akbar Velayati (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) May 2, 2007 -- An foreign affairs adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said Iran is capable of the "mass production" of centrifuges used for enriching uranium.


Ali Akbar Velayati made the comment in an interview published in the conservative "Jomhuri-yi Islami" newspaper.


The UN Security Council has approved two rounds of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, which Tehran insists is intended for peaceful purposes.


U.S. and some other Western officials have accused Iran of covertly seeking to possess nuclear weapons.


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has criticized Iran for a lack of disclosure in the past and says it has not seen sufficient evidence to confirm that Tehran's nuclear efforts have no military component.


(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.


CHRONOLOGY

An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.

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