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Terrorism & Security

UN says Iran enriching more uranium, warns of nuclear bomb program

A new report by the UN's nuclear watchdog warned that Iran appears to be pursuing a nuclear bomb and said the country is boosting its uranium enrichment efforts.

By Correspondent / February 19, 2010

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in protective glasses visits an exhibition of Iran laser science and technology in Tehran, capital of Iran.

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The International Atomic Energy Agency raised public concerns for the first time Thursday that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a move that may boost the US effort to impose new sanctions on Tehran.

A new report released by the UN’s nuclear monitoring agency confirmed that Iran has produced a first batch of more highly enriched uranium, reports The Washington Post. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had enriched uranium to 20 percent last week (a claim met with some skepticism, as the Monitor reported). The report also cited Iran’s failure to explain the purchase of sensitive technology, as well as tests of detonators and missile designs that are associated with nuclear warheads. Inspectors also found that Iran had moved most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to a site used to enrich the nuclear fuel to higher levels.

The IAEA said the evidence pointing to possible weapons research came from multiple sources and was "consistent," raising concerns about "past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile."

Iran's supreme leader responded Friday, saying the Islamic republic doesn't believe in pursuing nuclear bombs, reports CNN.

"Iran will not get emotional in its response to these nonsensical statements, because we have often said that our religious tenets and beliefs consider these kinds of weapons of mass destruction to be symbols of genocide and are, therefore, forbidden and considered to be haram [religiously banned]," he said.

"This is why we do not believe in atomic bombs and weapons and do not seek them."

This report brings the IAEA’s public assessment of Iran’s nuclear program into step with most Western intelligence agencies, though it contradicts the controversial US report released in 2007 that concluded Iran had stopped nuclear weapons research in 2003. The IAEA report claims such activity extended beyond 2004.

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