Haaretz Service and The Associated Press
October 21, 2008

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency said on Monday that Iran remains far from acquiring capabilities to develop nuclear weapons.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

In an interview broadcast on Channel 10, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed ElBaradei, said the Islamic Republic is still lacking the key components to produce an atomic weapon.

“They do not have even the nuclear material, the raw unenriched uranium to develop one nuclear weapon if they decide to do so,” ElBaradei said. “Even if you decide to walk out tomorrow from the non-proliferation treaty and you go into a lot of scenarios, we’re still not going to see Iran tomorrow having nuclear weapons.”

Senior diplomats from six world powers on Monday discussed the possibility of imposing new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, but they failed anew to reach a consensus on how or whether to proceed, U.S. officials said.

The high-level talks among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – along with Germany, came after the Chinese dropped objections to the consultations, the officials said. China had blocked the discussion for nearly two weeks, apparently in retaliation for U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

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