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US Official Warns Iran Against Installing Centrifuges January 26, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News, World News.

WASHINGTON (AP)–A top State Department official said Friday it would be a “major miscalculation” by Iranian authorities if they go ahead with a reported plan to begin installing 3,000 centrifuges at its Natanz underground facility.

“If Iran takes this step, it is going to confront universal international opposition,” said Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns.

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, disclosed the reported Iranian plan during the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.

“If they think they can get away with 3,000 centrifuges without another Security Council resolution and additional international pressure, then they are very badly mistaken,” Burns told reporters.

He noted that the U.N. Security Council just a month ago imposed economic sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

The centrifuge plan, if carried out, could be a major step toward nuclear weapons development in Iran.

Later State Department spokesman Sean McCormack expressed contempt for Iran’s decision to bar U.N. inspectors from any country that voted for sanctions against Iran last month in the U.N. Security Council.

“It’s outrageous,” he said, insisting that it unreasonable for Iran to try to “dictate” who should be allowed to inspect Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been trying to assemble an inspection team to go to Iran. Earlier, Iran had rejected 38 names from an IAEA list, insisting it had the right to approve individual members of the teams.

McCormack said Iran is “inspector shopping.”

“The tone of those kinds of actions are indicative of their continued defiance,” he added.


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