Thursday, February 03, 2005

Iran and Weapons-Grade Uranium

Diplomats familiar with Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency spoke to The Associated Press off the record. The diplomats have seen Iran testing parts of machines and using parts of machines that can be used to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads. Such revelations further hinder the hope that Iran would scrap seeking weapons-grade uranium. Iran has and still is publicly insisting that Iran only seeks low-grade uranium. But the United States and European powers view Iran as an oil rich country that does not need uranium. Even so, Iran did agree to freeze all uranium activities last year while the United States and European powers negotiate the reduction of the isolation of Iran.

Concerns about Iran grew after revelations of two secret nuclear facilities: 1) a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and 2) a heavy-water production plant around Arak. In addition, dual use machines that can be linked to possible weapons programs. Iran under the Nonproliferation Treaty is not allowed to run uranium enrichment programs.

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