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Iran Insists No Bomb Being Made

Published: March 3, 2009 (Issue # 1453)


TEHRAN, Iran Iran on Monday dismissed U.S. concerns about how much fissile material the country has produced, saying it isnt developing a nuclear bomb and that any effort to make weapons-grade uranium would be difficult under the eyes of international inspectors.

The comments came a day after the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said Iran has sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon and warned of a dire outcome if Tehran moves forward with building a bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has processed 1,010 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. But the report left unclear whether Iran is now capable, even if it wanted, of further enriching that material to the much higher degree needed to build a warhead.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi told reporters in Tehran, We have said many times that a nuclear weapon has no place in Irans defense doctrine.

Qashqavi did not comment specifically on the amount of fissile material Iran has produced. But he implied that even if Iran wanted to produce weapons-grade uranium, it would be difficult since the countrys enrichment facility is being monitored by the IAEA.

How is it possible for uranium enriched 3 to 4 percent to be enriched up to 90 percent while under IAEA monitoring? he said.

Iran says its nuclear program aims only to generate electricity and has been producing uranium that is less than 5 percent enriched in line with fuel needs of modern reactors. Nuclear weapons use uranium that is enriched to about 90 percent.

The U.S. and many of its allies suspect Irans real aim is to develop a program that would allow it to produce nuclear weapons and fear it will take the next step to further process its enriched uranium. International inspectors have not said Iran has taken that step.

Uranium is enriched by spinning a uranium gas at supersonic speeds in a series of thousands of centrifuges, and the technology can be used to produce low-enriched uranium for fuel or high-enriched for a warhead. But the latter requires more complicated techniques, and experts say it is unclear whether Iran has mastered the process.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, also appearing on a Sunday talk show, did not go as far as Mullen, saying the Iranians were not close to a weapon at this point, leaving time for diplomatic efforts. Gates appeared on NBCs Meet the Press Sunday, while Mullen was interviewed on Fox News Sunday.

President Barack Obama has offered increased diplomatic engagement with Iran in a bid to prove Tehran has more to lose by ignoring the wishes of countries concerned about its uranium enrichment than it has to gain through its nuclear efforts.

The UN has passed three sets of sanctions against Iran for its failure to suspend its uranium enrichment program.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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