Germany's BND denies report on Iran bomb timing

Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:39pm GMT
 

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's foreign intelligence agency BND denied a report in a magazine on Wednesday that its experts believe Iran is capable of producing and testing an atomic bomb within six months.

The report, in German weekly Stern, cited BND experts as saying Iran had mastered the enrichment technology necessary to make a bomb and had enough centrifuges to make weaponised uranium.

It quoted one expert at the agency as saying: "If they wanted to, they could detonate an atomic bomb in half a year's time."

But a BND spokesman said the article did not reflect the view of the agency, which is that Iran would not be able to produce an atomic bomb for years.

"We are talking about several years not several months," the spokesman said.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for electricity generation to help it export more of its oil and gas, but Western countries suspect it of trying to make a nuclear bomb.

"(Six months) is absolutely a worst-case analysis," said Mark Fitzpatrick, senior non-proliferation fellow at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies.

He said that while it might be plausible in theory that Iran could further enrich uranium in a large enough quantity for a bomb as well as restarting the weapon design work it halted in 2003, these actions would not go unnoticed.

He said there was also disagreement as to how advanced the weapons design work was.   Continued...

 
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