UK, London / Trend corr G. Ahmadova/ "I agree with the report of the US National Intelligence Council that Iran will be technically able to produce enough amount of highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapon not earlier then by the end of 2009," Mark Fitzpatrick, nuclear non-proliferation analyst at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said to Trend .
"The more likely period is 2010-2015 or even later. All time schedule estimations the show that if Iran manages the enrichment technology, it will also be able to purchase the technologies to manufacture a weapon from highly enriched uranium," Fitzpatrick said.
"Hasty setting of a range of IR-2 centrifuges by Iran is intended for public show. It is scheduled for 8 April 2008 - the Day of National Nuclear Technologies. Moreover, adding to the national pride, Iran probably wants to demonstrate neglect for the UN Security Council's sanctions which were passed on 3 March 2008.
On 3 March, the UN Security Council approved of the 3rd round of sanctions against Iran, which are intended against Teheran's uranium enrichment programs. The resolution froze the assets of twelve companies and thirteen individuals regarding Iran's nuclear program and urges the countries to display vigilance towards Iranians engaged in the program and to prohibit their group (over 5 people) trips.
According to Fitzpatrick, Iran also wants to show that it has no intension to suspend launching of the centrifuges or content itself with 3,000 centrifuges, though setting of advanced centrifuges before being properly tested breaks normal technical procedures.
" Iran's intensive nuclear activity is altogether abnormal. Given the easy access to enriched uranium at the international market, enrichment does not have economic sense for the countries with less than 5-10 reactors. Therefore, most of these 30 countries having nuclear power do not produce their own enriched uranium," Fitzpatrick said.
According to Fitzpatrick, Teheran is cunning saying that uranium enrichment is required to enable fuel supply to the reactor in Bushehr and for the nuclear power stations to be constructed in future. "There is a plenty of other ways to guarantee uranium fuel supply through making use of countless proposals from different countries and international organizations," he said.
Recently, the IAEA experts said in Vienna that Iran had set up new more powerful centrifuges for uranium enrichment - 300 second generation centrifuges at the Natanz plant.
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