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Iran Says Bushehr Delay Justifies Enrichment

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (right) visiting Bushehr last year (Fars) April 3, 2007 -- Iran says that a continued Russian refusal to deliver atomic fuel to its first nuclear power station would justify Tehran's uranium-enrichment activities.

Gholam Reza Aqazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, made the remark today in Bushehr, in southern Iran.

Russia, which is helping build the Bushehr nuclear power plant, did not supply the fuel as planned in March because of what it said were Iran's payment delays.

Moscow acknowledged at the end of March that Tehran had re-launched its payments.

Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's federal Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatom, said today he hoped Teheran would now make timely payments.

The West believes Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its nuclear program is solely aimed at generating energy.

(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.