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U.N.: Iran has tons of gas for uranium enrichment

By wire services
Published September 3, 2005

VIENNA - Iran has pumped out about seven tons of the gas it needs for uranium enrichment since it restarted the process last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Friday. A former U.N. nuclear inspector said that would be enough for an atomic weapon.

In unusually strong language, an IAEA report also said despite its investigation, questions remain about key aspects of Iran's 18 years of clandestine nuclear activity and that it still was unable "to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran."

"Iran's full transparency is indispensable and overdue," said the confidential document.

The report, prepared by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, said Iran had produced about 15,000 pounds of uranium hexafluoride, the gaseous feed stock that is spun by centrifuge into enriched uranium. Depending on the level of enrichment, that substance can be used either as a source of power or as the core of nuclear weapons.

But David Albright, a former IAEA nuclear inspector, said that were Tehran to use the material for weapons purposes, it would be enough for one atomic bomb.

After Iran resumed conversion last month, key European nations set a deadline for today for Tehran to reimpose its freeze of the process or face the threat of referral to the U.N. Security Council - a warning most recently repeated last week by French President Jacques Chirac.

Iraq election requires 2,000 extra U.S. troops

WASHINGTON - U.S.-trained Iraqi police and military forces will handle most of the security duties during nationwide voting in October and December, so the American military is likely to send only a few thousand extra troops to Iraq for that mission, a senior U.S. commander said Friday.

Some officials had indicated recently that up to 20,000 extra U.S. troops might be needed during the voting.

Lt. Gen. John Vines, commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, said he expected to need no more than 2,000 extra troops because there are thousands more Iraqi troops available than during last January's election.

Vines' comment comes at a juncture in the Iraq conflict that has seen waning public patience for U.S. casualties and increased political pressure on President Bush to show progress in stabilizing Iraq. It also comes amid added strains on the U.S. military from hurricane rescue and relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi.

U.N. official charged in money laundering scheme

UNITED NATIONS - A Russian official who chairs the United Nations' powerful budget committee was charged Friday with helping another U.N. procurement officer launder hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for a share of the money.

The FBI arrested Vladimir Kuznetsov, an official with the Russian Foreign Ministry and the elected chairman of the U.N. budget advisory committee, in a Thursday night raid in New York. He is accused of working with Alexander Yakovlev, who pleaded guilty last month to soliciting nearly $1-million in bribes from companies bidding for U.N. contracts.

On Thursday, the U.N. Development Program announced that $1.2-million had been stolen from its office in Moscow by staff between 2000 and 2004, and that the head of the office, Stefan Vasilev, had been fired as a result of an investigation that started in June. The cases are not known to be connected.

Typhoon Talim kills 10 in China, two in Taiwan

SHANGHAI, China - Torrential rains and flooding from Typhoon Talim killed at least 10 people and left 15 missing in eastern China, the government said Friday.

The deaths occurred in Fujian province on China's southeastern coast, the official Xinhua News Agency said without giving any details. It said Talim caused $450-million in damage.

Talim was downgraded late Thursday to a tropical storm and weakened further on Friday as it passed farther inland into Jiangxi province.

In Taiwan, Talim's heavy rain and winds were blamed for the drowning deaths of two men and injuries to 24 others on Thursday.

Brothers, Dutch teen to be released from Aruba jail

ORANJESTAD, Aruba - A judge on Friday ordered the conditional release of two Surinamese brothers held in the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, their lawyers said. The two will be freed today along with another suspect.

The judge ruled that Deepak, 18, and Satish Kalpoe, 21, could go free on condition that they not leave Aruba and remain available to police, said attorneys Ruud Oomen and David Kock.

The court on Thursday had ordered Dutch teenager Joran van der Sloot to be released under the same conditions imposed on the Kalpoes.

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