Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Iran Started Limited Enrichment

Iran has put into operation only 1,300 centrifuges, according to a report filed by IAEA inspectors after their visit to Natanz earlier this week. The number of centrifuges used to enrich uranium is much lower than the 50,000 threshold needed for an industrial-level production and for making a nuclear warhead.

President Ahmadinejad last week had announced that Iran has achieved industrial-level production and called for a national day of celebration. Nuclear analysts immediately discounted Ahmadinejad’s claims (see the April 10 entry in this blog: Iran’s Enrichment Breakthrough Questioned.)

IAEA inspectors protested Iran’s decision to prevent them from visiting the country’s heavy water facility now under construction. The plant will produce plutonium. Enriched uranium and plutonium can both be used as the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

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