Bushehr Plant 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Iran has enough low-enriched uranium to produce one to two nuclear
weapons, but it would not be logical for it to cross the bomb-making
threshold, said former UN chief of nuclear inspections Olli Heinonen in
an interview with Le Monde
Thursday which was cited by Reuters.
called Iran's nuclear program a "threat" in a rare public interview,
given shortly before he stepped down from his position as deputy
director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Heinonen was
head of the IAEA's nuclear safeguards arm, which monitors countries'
nuclear programs to make sure they are intended for peaceful use.
Heinonen left the post in August for personal reasons.
Russia: Israel need not fear reactor
'Israel has days to strike Bushehr'
The Finnish former director-general was an expert on Iran's nuclear
program, Reuters said. Iran is suspected of creating the program with
intent to develop a weapon, although Teheran insists the program is
Heinonen said Iran has three tons of low-enriched
uranium, which if refined much further could fuel a bomb. "In theory, it
is enough to make one or two nuclear arms," he told Le Monde.
reach the final step, when one only has just enough material for two
weapons, does not make sense." He was interviewed just before he left
has asked Russia to join forces in establishing a nuclear consortium to
supply fuel for the newly operational Bushehr plant, as well as other
plants due to begin functioning in the future.
reports on Thursday, Iranian Vice President and nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told state news
agency IRNA that the proposal to Russia was made "for the creation of a
consortium, licensed by that country, to do part of the work in Russia
and part of it in Iran."
He continued: "Moscow is studying this
offer. We (Iran) should show the world our capability in uranium
production and transforming it to nuclear fuel."
On August 21, Russia began fueling Iran's first nuclear power plant in Bushehr, and
has committed to doing so for the next ten years.
Bushehr's inauguration was a major milestone for Iran as Teheran forges ahead with
its atomic program despite UN sanctions.
pressure, sanctions and hardships imposed by Western nations, we are now
witnessing the startup of the largest symbol of Iran's peaceful nuclear
activities,"Salehi told reporters inside the plant.
which helped finish building the plant, pledged to safeguard the site
and prevent spent nuclear fuel from being shifted to a possible weapons
program. After years of delaying its completion, Moscow says it believes
the Bushehr project is essential for persuading Iran to cooperate with
international efforts to ensure Iran does not develop the bomb.
United States, while no longer formally objecting to the plant,
disagrees and says Iran should not be rewarded while it continues to
defy UN demands to halt enrichment of uranium, a process used to produce
fuel for power plants but which can also be used in weapons production.
Iran says they currently have enough fuel to operate Bushehr for one
year and that they will continue to enrich uranium, they have also stated that they do not intend to produce all the
nuclear fuel domestically in the future.
AP contributed to this report.
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