Iran has made a quantum leap in its nuclear program, and now has the capacity to enrich uranium on a much larger scale than previously believed, the International Atomic Energy Agency reports after a short-notice inspection last weekend. With dramatically improved centrifuge technology, engineers are turning out reactor-grade uranium.
Experts say there is still a large technological leap from reactor-grade uranium to weapons-grade, which would also necessitate kicking out inspectors, as North Korea did. “From now on, it is simply a question of perfecting that knowledge," says the agency's director. The Bush administration, meanwhile, refuses to negotiate the nuclear question until "not one centrifuge spins" in Iran.