Iran Attempted Shopping Spree, Fueling Nuke Fears

Tehran tries to buy 100K banned magnets

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 14, 2013 7:54 AM CST

(Newser) – Iran has tried to buy huge quantities of banned nuclear-linked magnets amid announced plans for thousands more centrifuges. The news has experts concerned that the country could be ready to give its nuclear program a major boost, the Washington Post reports. A year ago, Tehran attempted to order some 100,000 of the magnets, or 50,000 centrifuges' worth, from China, despite UN sanctions banning their export to Iran. Whether the purchase went through isn't known.

"They are positioning themselves to make a lot of nuclear progress quickly," says a European official. At the same time, however, Tehran has announced that it's turning some of its uranium into material that's difficult to use in a weapons capacity—perhaps in an effort to soothe the West. Negotiators couldn't reach a nuclear deal during talks yesterday in the country, an UN official says. "As on previous occasions," Iran refused inspectors entry to a possible bomb-trigger testing site. "We will work hard now to try and resolve the remaining differences, but time is needed to reflect on the way forward," the official says, per the New York Times.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday Feb. 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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