Tehran, Jan 21 (ANI): US secret diplomatic cables released by the whistleblower website 'Wikileaks' have revealed that Iran has 'technical ability' to make highly enriched uranium (HEU) that is required to ultimately build a nuclear bomb.
The Guardian quoted the cable as saying that during a meeting of international nuclear experts in Vienna, a US representative said: "Iran had now demonstrated centrifuge operations such that it had the technical ability to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU) if it so chose".
The meeting in April 2009 was reportedly hosted by Britain's ambassador to Austria, Simon Smith.
The revelation comes as nuclear talks resume between Iranian officials and representatives of six world powers in Istanbul today.
A 2009 Vienna meeting had agreed that Iran would need 1.5 tonnes of low-enriched UF6 to make an initial bomb, then another tonne for each subsequent device. The UK calculated that by 2014, Iran would have amassed 20 tonnes, enough for 19 warheads, the paper said.
Iran had experienced a number of international sanctions over its nuclear enrichment ambitions in the recent past. However, Iran has always maintained that its programme is intended for the generation of electricity.
Earlier this month, Israel's decision to test the Stuxnet Computer Worm in the Dimona complex in the Negev Desert appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran's nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran's ability to make its first nuclear arms.
The former chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had separately announced that they believed Iran's efforts had been set back by several years.
Clinton also claimed that Iran's ambition to produce a nuclear weapon soon has been delayed by international sanctions. (ANI)