Iran has capacity to quadruple enrichment at Fordo, aide says


By James G. Neuger

Iran would be able to quadruple the enrichment of 20 percent uranium at its Fordo facility by using all the centrifuges installed there, a European diplomat said.

No date is set for the resumption of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, though February is looking more likely, the diplomat told reporters today in Brussels on the condition of anonymity. Contacts with Iran on a return to the negotiating table continue, the diplomat said.

“We are currently in contact with them and we want to see Iran come back to the negotiating table as soon as possible so we can make concrete progress toward addressing the concerns of the international community regarding their nuclear program,” Maja Kocijancic, an EU foreign policy spokeswoman, said at a separate Brussels briefing today. “We have proposed concrete dates to the Iranian side and we’ve seen Iran come back with different modalities all the time.”

The U.S. and its allies say Iran has sought the capability to make atomic bombs. Iran, under international sanctions for its nuclear work, insists its program is for the production of civilian nuclear energy. Iran last week barred United Nations atomic inspectors from gaining access to the Parchin military complex, a suspected nuclear site.

The U.S. is determined to prevent Iran from going nuclear, Senator John Kerry, the nominee for secretary of state, said in his confirmation hearing yesterday in Washington.

“Our policy is not containment,” Kerry said. “It is prevention, and the clock is ticking on our efforts to secure responsible compliance.”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton represents five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in the talks with Iran, which last took place in June.


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