Iran Boosts Nuclear Capability

Surprise inspection turns up improved enrichment technology
By Greg Atwan,  Newser User
Posted May 14, 2007 5:36 PM CDT
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talks to journalists at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, May 14, 2007. Ahmadinejad will leave UAE to Oman later in the day. (AP Photo/Kamran...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.