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Stepping up uranium enrichment? Photo: EPA
Stepping up uranium enrichment? Photo: EPA
 
 

CIA report says Iran expanded atom work in 2011

Ahead of anticipated renewal of nuclear negotiations, Central Intelligence Agency tells Congress Tehran continues to pursue uranium enrichment, missile development

Yitzhak Benhorin
Published: 04.05.12, 09:37 / Israel News

WASHINGTON – A Congress-commissioned CIA report about Iran's nuclear progress states that the Islamic Republic has expanded its nuclear work in 2011.

 

According to the report, which focused on arms proliferation, Tehran has continued its uranium enrichment endeavors and growing infrastructure development.

 

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The findings, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), said that Iran has produced 4,900 kilograms of low enriched uranium.

 

"Iran continued to expand its nuclear infrastructure and continued uranium enrichment and activities related to its heavy water research reactor," the report said.

 


Iranian President Ahmadinejad (Photo: EPA)

 

The data was published ahead of the European Union's efforts to cement new nuclear talks with Iran. The negotiations are expected to be launched on April 13.

 

Israel and the US are said to be in agreement over the intelligence findings and the strategy meant to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  

 

The report further said that as of November, the Islamic Republic's "nuclear material stockpile included 4,150 kilograms of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride and about 80 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium hexafluoride gas."

 

Iran now has only 8,000 centrifuges, compared to 8,900 in 2010, but their operation has increased sharply.

 

The report also make note of the underground Fordow enrichment facility near Qom, dubbing it a "major nuclear facility," adding that "Fordow has begun production of near-20% enriched uranium.”

 

The CIA's report also stated that Iran continues to develop ballistic missiles capability: "We judge Tehran will continue to work on producing more capable (medium-range ballistic missiles) and developing space launch vehicles."

 

The report stressed that Tehran’s missile arsenal is one of the largest in the Middle East and as such poses a growth threat.

 

"Iran is moving closer to self-sufficiency in missile production," the report said, adding that it still relies on foreign suppliers, such as China, Russia, and North Korea for the necessary materials.

 

The CIA also believes that the Iranians are developing chemical weapons agents and have conducted research indicating "offensive applications."

 

 

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