Iranian Bomb Almost There…

Iranian Atomic Work Nears Bomb Capability, U.S. Says

By Jonathan Tirone – Bloomberg

Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) — Iran’s nuclear work is approaching a “dangerous and destabilizing” point at which the Persian Gulf country could build a bomb, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency said.

“Iran is now either very near or in possession already of sufficient low-enriched uranium to produce one nuclear weapon, if the decision were made to further enrich it to weapons grade,” Ambassador Glyn Davies said today in a statement prepared for the IAEA’s 35-member board of governors, which is meeting for a third day in Vienna.

This “moves Iran closer to a dangerous and destabilizing possible breakout capacity,” Davies added, in some of the strongest comments yet used by a U.S. official about the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. He repeated President Barack Obama’s overtures to Iran for direct negotiations and said the administration in Washington is committed to a negotiated resolution to the international dispute over Iran’s work.

Iran, holder of the world’s No. 2 oil and natural gas reserves, is under three sets of UN Security Council sanctions for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, a process to isolate an isotope needed to generate fuel for a nuclear power reactor or, in higher concentrations, to make a weapon. The government in Tehran says it wants to generate power and rejects Western allegations that it seeks to build an atomic bomb.

‘Weapons Option’

“We have serious concerns that Iran is deliberately attempting, at a minimum, to preserve a nuclear weapons option,” said Davies, in his first IAEA meeting since being appointed by Obama.

IAEA inspectors reported last month that the Iran “has not suspended its enrichment-related activities or its work on heavy-water-related projects as required by the Security Council.” The agency said it can’t exclude the possibility that there is a military purpose to Iran’s nuclear program.

“Against the background of the evidence available it is inexcusable that Iran continues to refuse any degree of transparency or cooperation in clarifying these outstanding issues,” France, Germany and the U.K. said in a joint statement today in Vienna.

London’s Verification Research, Training and Information Center calculates that 630 kilograms (1,389 pounds) of low- enriched uranium could yield 15 to 22 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium, enough for the production of a device under the supervision of an expert bomb-maker. The IAEA says Iran has more than 1,500 kilograms of low-enriched uranium.

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