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article imagePutin says West wants ‘regime change’ in Iran

By Lynn Herrmann     Feb 27, 2012 in Politics
Washington - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused Western powers’ escalated rhetoric over Iran’s nuclear program as an attempt at disguising their true intent, government involvement in “regime change.”
With talk of war between a U.S.-backed Israel and Iran, Putin said the drama is based on forcing a previously successful pre-regime change scare tactic, weapons of mass destruction. “Under the guise of trying to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction... they are attempting something else entirely and setting different goals --regime change,” the prime minister said, according to Common Dreams.
“We have such suspicions,” Putin continued. “And we are trying to take a stand that differs from the one they are trying to force on us... concerning the ways that the Iranian nuclear problem might develop.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) report to member states notes Iran’s uranium enrichment production rate had increased to the 20 percent level over the last three months, with much of the production occurring at its Fordow underground facility. The IAEA report states the agency has “serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.”
Iran now has produced almost five and a half metric tonnes of low enriched uranium - at about the 3.5 percent level - and around 109 kg of enriched uranium at the 20 percent level.
Were enrichment to reach the 90 percent level, the total stockpile could make four nuclear warheads, the Guardian reports.
Iran continues insisting its low-level uranium enrichment program is for energy production, not for weapons manufacturing.
Despite the nuclear watchdog’s fears, U.S. intelligence analysts reiterate their belief there is no concrete evidence Iran is building nuclear weapons.
Consistent with a 2007 National Intelligence report (pdf)which concluded Iran halted its nuclear weapons program years earlier, latest assessments by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies suggest Iran is undecided on resuming nuclear weapons production.
Speaking before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, James Clapper, Jr., director of national intelligence, said there is no evidence Iran is pushing toward nuclear weapons capabilities. “They are certainly moving on that path, but we don’t believe they have actually made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon,” he said, the New York Times reports.
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