September 2, 2009
U.N. Watchdog Reports Iran’s Increased Capability
Iran significantly increased its ability to make nuclear fuel this summer, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog said in a new report. According to The New York Times, the report released Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency detailed an increase in the number of centrifuges installed, which are used to enrich uranium. The current number of more than 8,300 centrifuges is more than 1,100 above the June total.
Despite the boost, the report revealed that the pace at which Iran was enriching uranium had slowed. IAEA inspectors could not determine the reason behind the slowdown, nor did Iran offer any explanation. Still, outside experts say that if the uranium amassed by Iran was purified further, it could create fuel for nearly two nuclear warheads.
Though Iran recently opened some important sites to inspectors after barring their entrance for more than a year, the Islamic Republic continues to withhold crucial documents detailing the military’s involvement with the nuclear program and refuses to allow investigators to interview personnel suspected of involvement in weapons development. The U.S. State Department said the report “clearly shows that Iran continues to expand its nuclear program and deny the IAEA most forms of cooperation,” according to The Times.