- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Centrifuges readied, rebel group charges

BRUSSELS — Iran is making 5,000 centrifuges that can be used to produce enriched nuclear fuel for weapons and almost two-thirds of the machines are ready for use, an exiled Iranian opposition group said yesterday.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, which previously has reported accurately about Tehran’s nuclear program, is the political wing of the militant People’s Mojahedin and is listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

“In order to enrich uranium to weapons grade, the Iranian regime has been concentrating on … manufacturing some 5,000 centrifuge machines,” Ali Safavi, an NCRI official, told a press conference here.

A commercial enrichment plant typically has tens of thousands of centrifuges, so 5,000 is a relatively small number, but enough to enrich sufficient uranium fuel to make several atomic bombs a year, Reuters news agency reported.


Greeks threaten Turks’ EU entry talks

NICOSIA — Cyprus warned yesterday that it could prevent Turkey’s EU entry talks from starting next month as scheduled if agreement is not reached over Ankara’s refusal to recognize the Greek Cypriot government in Nicosia.

“If there is no agreement, it means there is no agreement on the negotiation framework, and that naturally means accession negotiations will not start Oct. 3,” spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said.

Weekly notes

A Lebanese company announced yesterday that it has ceased operations in Iraq in response to demands by the kidnappers of one of its employees, Garabet Shirikjian, a Lebanese-Armenian. Geo Trading, which the kidnappers accused of exporting alcoholic beverages to Iraq, said it has closed its offices in Iraq, dismissed its employees there and decided not to operate in Iraq to save the employee. … Saudi Arabia is among the serious candidates for permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council if the body is expanded, a Saudi official said yesterday. Samir Shihabi, former Saudi envoy to the United Nations and head of the Council of Presidents of the U.N. General Assembly, was quoted by the daily Al-Riyadh as saying, “Saudi Arabia is always considered as a possible permanent member of the Security Council.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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