Iran Raises Nuclear Stakes

'Can Produce Uranium on Industrial Scale'
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2007 6:16 AM CDT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves to the media as he arrives at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 4, 2007. In a wide ranging speech the Iranian president lambasted the UN...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Iran claims to have scaled up its nuclear capability by enriching uranium "on an industrial scale, " the Guardian reports, in defiance of U.S. and U.N. pressure to dimantle the program. The announcement from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  is sure to heighten conflict with the White House and provide new ammunition for those advocating military action.

His chief negotiator, Ali Larijani, confirmed there are now 3,000 nuclear centrifuges in operation, ten times as many as previously believed and enough to produce material for a warhead within a year. But Michael Levi, of the Council on Foreign Relations, is skeptical. "We have an unfortunate habit to take Iran at its word when they make scary announcements," he tells the AP.