DHAKA: Iran has significantly stepped up its output of low-enriched uranium and total production in the last five years, which would be enough for at least five nuclear weapons if refined much further, a US security institute said.
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a think-tank which closely tracks Iran’s nuclear programme, made the analysis on the basis of data in the latest quarterly UN watchdog report which was issued on Friday.
Progress in Iran’s nuclear activities is closely watched by the West and Israel as it could determine how long it could take Tehran to build atomic bombs, if it decided to do so. Iran denies any plan to and says its aims are entirely peaceful.
During talks in Baghdad this week, six world powers failed to convince Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment programme.
They will meet again in Moscow next month to try to defuse a decade-old standoff that has raised fears of a new war in the Middle East that could disrupt oil supplies.
Friday’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a Vienna-based UN body, showed Iran pressing ahead with its uranium enrichment work in defiance of UN resolutions calling on it to suspend the activity.
It said Iran had produced almost 6.2 tonnes of uranium enriched to a level of 3.5 percent since it began the work in 2007 - some of which has subsequently been further processed into higher-grade material.
This is nearly 750 kg more than in the previous IAEA report issued in February, and ISIS said Iran’s monthly production had risen by roughly a third.
BDST: 1958 HRS, May 26, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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