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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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IAEA Predicts Iran Could Make Bomb Within Six Years

April 11, 2007 -- A spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran will have the capacity to build its own nuclear bomb in four to six years.

Melissa Fleming told German Deutschlandfunk radio that this estimate still leaves time for diplomatic efforts to counter the potential threat.

Fleming said it is incomprehensible that Tehran is not opening its uranium-enrichment program to international inspection.

She also said that Iran has a basic right to operate nuclear facilities, provided that this is done in a transparent and legal way.

Fleming's remarks came days after Iran announced that it is now capable of producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale through enrichment.

Two sets of UN sanctions have been imposed on Iran over its refusal to halt such work.

"We have a schedule that's laid out in [UN Security Council] Resolution 1747 and yesterday's comments and statements by the Iranian president suggest we will be back at the Security Council dealing with this yet again," acting U.S. Ambassador to the UN Alejandro Wolff told journalists on April 10. "We have two resolutions dealing with this issue. Yesterday's rejection of the approach laid out in those resolutions I think makes clear that Iran continues to disregard its obligations."

Western nations suspect Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing atomic weapons. Tehran denies this.


Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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