HOW WELL IS THE PRESS COVERING THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT IRAN HAS A URANIUM ENRICHMENT PROGRAM?

04/12/06

In his column for Slate.Com (TODAY'S PAPERS) our guest Eric Umansky writes: Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2006, at 3:30 AM ET

"The New York Times, Wall Street Journal's world-wide newsbox, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times all lead with Iran's announcement that it has enriched a bit of uranium for use in civilian reactors, though far below the quantity and purity needed for nukes. "Iran has joined the nuclear countries of the world," said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a ceremony filled with music, dance, and fun. Iran still appears to have a long way to go before it can actually make nukes. It enriched the uranium to 3.5 percent purity; for weapons-grade material they need to kick it up to about 80 percent and do so on an industrial scale, all of which will likely take years. "They need to learn a lot more to produce it in significant quantities and they need to build a lot more centrifuges," said one specialist.

Tehran's announcement "should be depicted with caveats," one U.N. inspector told the LAT. "If they've enriched for 5 minutes it's one thing, if you have major enrichment it's another."

During this interview Eric discussed how Iran's announcement about uranium enrichment was more nuanced than some of the headlines would lead us to believe.

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