NPR logo Good News/Bad News: Inspections Set; But Iran Said To Have Nuke Know-How

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Good News/Bad News: Inspections Set; But Iran Said To Have Nuke Know-How

On the one hand, it's been announced that Iran will allow officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its newly revealed uranium enrichment site on Oct. 25 — a site Iran says is to generate fuel to be used for peaceful purposes.

And the IAEA's chief, Mohamed ElBaradie says this development is a sign that "we are at a critical moment ... we are shifting gears from confrontation into transparency and cooperation."

On the other hand, The New York Times reports this morning that:

Senior staff members of the United Nations nuclear agency have concluded in a confidential analysis that Iran has acquired "sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable" atom bomb.

While preliminary, the Times writes, "the report's conclusions, described by senior European officials, go well beyond the public positions taken by several governments, including the United States."

The international agency mentioned by the Times is the IAEA. The Times says that:

While the analysis represents the judgment of the nuclear agency's senior staff, a struggle has erupted in recent months over whether to make it public. The dispute pits the agency's departing director, Mohamed ElBaradei, against his own staff and against foreign governments eager to intensify pressure on Iran.

Dr. ElBaradei has long been reluctant to adopt a confrontational strategy with Iran, an approach he considers counterproductive. Responding to calls for the report's release, he has raised doubts about its completeness and reliability.

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