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Former Iran President Defends Nuclear Program

Ayatollah Mohammad Khatami, former president of Iran (file photo) (epa) August 25, 2006 -- Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami today defended his country's right to the peaceful use of nuclear power.

In remarks at a seminar at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Khatami insisted that Iran has "no intention of making nuclear weapons."

He pointed out that "Japan depends on nuclear energy for more than 30 percent of its energy demands" and that "the United States and other countries in the world also depend heavily on nuclear energy" to support his argument that "Iran has also the right to utilize this form of energy."

Khatami on August 24 met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and warned against the possibility of the United Nations imposes sanctions on Iran on account of its disputed nuclear program.

(Reuters, AFP)

Talking Technical

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.