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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, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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