Friday, November 19, 2004

Diplomats: Iran Is Readying Nuke Processes

VIENNA, Austria - Iran is using the last few days before it must stop all uranium enrichment to produce significant quantities of a gas that can be used to make nuclear weapons, diplomats said Friday.

Iran recently started producing uranium hexafluoride at its gas processing facilities in Isfahan, the diplomats told The Associated Press. When introduced into centrifuges and spun, the substance can be enriched into weapons-grade uranium that forms the core of nuclear warheads.

Iran last week agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and all related activities in a deal worked out with Britain, France, Germany and the European Union. The deal, which takes effect Monday, prohibits Iran from all uranium gas processing activities. But the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Iran was exploiting the window until Monday to produce uranium hexafluoride at its plant in the central city of Isfahan.

Asked about quantities, one diplomat said "it's not little," but he declined to elaborate.
Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran is simply unacceptable. Simply unacceptable.

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