Monday, May 31, 2010

U.N. Report Says Iran Has Fuel for 2 Nuclear Weapons

Published: May 31, 2010

WASHINGTON — In their last report before the United Nations Security Council votes on sanctions against Iran, international nuclear inspectors declared Monday that Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that experts say would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons.

The report, by the International Atomic Energy Agency, a branch of the United Nations, appears likely to bolster the Obama administration’s case for a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran and further diminish its interest in a deal, recently revived by Turkey and Brazil, in which Iran would send a portion of its nuclear stockpile out of the country.

When Iran tentatively agreed eight months ago to ship some of its nuclear material out of the country, the White House said the deal would temporarily deprive Iran of enough fuel to make even a single weapon.

But Iran delayed for months, and the figures contained in the inspectors’ report on Monday indicated that even if Iran now shipped the agreed-upon amount of nuclear material out of the country, it would retain enough for a single weapon, undercutting the American rationale for the deal.

The toughly worded report says that Iran has expanded work at one of its nuclear sites. It also describes, step by step, how inspectors have been denied access to a series of facilities, and how Iran has refused to answer inspectors’ questions on a variety of activities, including what the agency called the “possible existence” of “activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

A spokesman for the White House, Michael Hammer, said in a statement on Monday that the report “clearly shows Iran’s continued failure to comply with its international obligations and its sustained lack of cooperation with the I.A.E.A.” He said the report “underscores that Iran has refused to take any of the steps required of it” by the Security Council or the I.A.E.A.’s board of governors, “which are necessary to enable constructive negotiations on the future of its nuclear program.”

Iran, which insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, has said that it has conducted no work on weapons, and argues that the evidence of work on warheads is forged.

Iran’s nuclear progress had been expected to be a central subject at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at the White House between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. Mr. Netanyahu canceled the visit after a deadly raid by Israeli commandos on ships carrying supplies to Gaza.

More of the story here

I question whether anyone (other than perhaps Israel) really has a clue about the actual size of Iran's nuclear weapons stockpile. However, this one thing is quite certain...when the time is right they will try to use them against Israel.


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