By Daniel Dombey
Published: February 19 2009 21:18 | Last updated: February 19 2009 21:18
Iran has now built up a stockpile of enough enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb, United Nations officials acknowledged on Thursday.
In a development that comes as the Obama administration is drawing up its policy on negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear programme, UN officials said Iran had produced more nuclear material than previously thought.
They said Iran had now accumulated more than one tonne of low enriched uranium hexafluoride at a facility in Natanz. If such a quantity were further enriched it could produce more than 20kg of fissile material – enough for a bomb.
“It appears that Iran has walked right up to the threshold of having enough low enriched uranium to provide enough raw material for a single bomb,” said Peter Zimmerman, a former chief scientist of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
The new figures come in a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, released on Thursday.
This revealed that Iran’s production of low enriched uranium had previously been underestimated.