What We Know About Iran's Nukes

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei claimed last week that his government isn't interested in nuclear weapons: "Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none," he said. A better perspective was provided almost simultaneously from the world's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which on Aug. 30 released its latest report on Iran's nuclear activities.

The report, written in a mix of bureaucrat-speak and obscure science, nevertheless conveys a worrying message. It shows that Iran continues to expand its capacity for enriching uranium. There are now two new groups of centrifuges installed at Fordow—the hardened site built under a mountain near the holy city of Qom—which signals a doubling of the site's capacity since May.

Crucially, Iran continues to stockpile uranium enriched to 3.5% and 20% purity—levels for which Iran has no immediate use unless it is planning to make an atomic bomb
. (Its stockpiles of 20% uranium far exceed Tehran's claimed needs for a reactor making medical isotopes.)

Judging from this report, Iran seems determined to achieve the capability of producing nuclear materials suitable for nuclear weapons. Whether it has made a decision to produce a fully operational nuclear weapon is unclear. (The Obama ad... >>>

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