At a meeting of international nuclear experts in Vienna, a US representative said that “Iran had now demonstrated centrifuge operations such that it had the technical ability to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU) if it so chose”. The meeting in April 2009 was hosted by Britain’s ambassador to Austria, Simon Smith.
The revelation comes as nuclear talks resume between Iranian officials and representatives of six world powers in Istanbul tomorrow. Expectations of compromise are low.
Not all western governments share the US conclusion, but if true it suggests international sanctions have failed to deny Iran the know-how required to make a nuclear bomb. The production of HEU is generally agreed to be the most serious obstacle any aspiring nuclear state must overcome.