Netanyahu: UN report proves Iran's nuclear program advancing 'uninterrupted'
IAEA document says Tehran tripled its capacity to enrich uranium to elevated levels; PM: Report indicates Israel's estimates had been accurate.
A United Nations report on Iran's nuclear program proves that Israeli estimates concerning Tehran's progress were accurate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday, adding that Iran was continuing to advance their efforts "uninterrupted."
Netanyahu's comments came following a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) leaked Friday, which indicated that Iran has tripled its capacity to enrich uranium to elevated levels.
Iran's enrichment of uranium up to 20 per cent has caused concern in the West because it is theoretically much easier to turn such material into bomb-grade material than uranium enriched at below five percent.
Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges for enriching to 20 percent at its fortified underground site at Fordo, according to a copy of the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) obtained by DPA.
Iran has now made more than 100 kilograms of higher-enriched material, less than half the amount needed for a nuclear warhead, the document said. Iran denies seeking a nuclear weapon.
In the first official Israeli response to the report, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement on Saturday, saying that the IAEA document "served as further proof that Israel's estimates are accurate."
"Iran is continuing its nuclear program uninterrupted. It is enriching uranium to levels higher than 20 percent, in blatant disregard to the demands of the international community," Netanyahu's statement added.
However, following the report's release, Tehran's envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog, Ali-Asqar Soltanieh, said on Friday said the document proves Iran's nuclear program is of a peaceful nature.
"The latest IAEA report again showed the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program and further reflected the progress Iran achieved in nuclear technology," Soltanieh was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.