Tehran: US remarks on Iran being close to nuclear weapon baseless

Tehran - Tehran on Monday termed as baseless remarks by the head of the US military Joint Chiefs of Staff that Iran had enough fissile material to make a nuclear bomb.

"These are baseless remarks, even from the technical viewpoint, and just for political propaganda," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi told reporters in Tehran.

In a televised interview on Sunday, Admeral Mike Mullen, head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he believed Iran has enough fissile material to make a nuclear bomb.

"Iran is a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and all its nuclear programmes are under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) and monitored by IAEA cameras," the spokesman said.

Ghashghavi insisted that Iran's uranium enrichment level is under 4 per cent and the country was neither willing nor capable to upgrade the enrichment level to over 90 per cent which is necessary to make nuclear weapons.

"The remarks by the US admiral were also immediately revised by Gates," the spokesman said, referring to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates who said in another TV interview that Iran was not close to a stockpile and therefore not close to a weapon, either.

Iran has constantly stressed that building nuclear weapons had no place in Iran's defence doctrine and was furthermore against Iran's Islamic principles.

The government, however, says that as an NPT signatory and IAEA member state it has an internationally acknowledged right to pursue nuclear technology, including the controversial uranium enrichment process.

The United Nations Security Council has so far issued three resolutions, including sanctions, against Tehran for having defied suspension of its enrichment programme. But the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that it would not be intimidated by such international measures.

Iran claims to currently have 6,000 operating centrifuges which the country plans to increase to 10,000 by April this year. The final aim of Iran is to have 50,000 centrifuges within five years for running its nuclear fuel cycle. (dpa)