February 11th, 2010
04:38 PM ET
13 years ago

U.S. downplays claim of Iranian uranium enrichment

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration on Thursday dismissed claims by Iran's president that the Islamic republic has completed its first batch of 20 percent-enriched uranium and will soon triple production.

Uranium enriched to 20 percent can set off a nuclear reaction, scientists say, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the country is capable of enriching uranium up to 80 percent, but won't.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday that, "We do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the degree they say they are enriching."

However, the West has long been alarmed over what it believes is Iran's intention to build nuclear weapons. Tehran insists it is not building nuclear weaponry, and wants to use the technology for civilian purposes, such as supplying medical isotopes for cancer patients.

"For a long time they said you can't have this or that. You have to shut down this facility or that," Ahmadinejad told a crowd gathered at Tehran's Azadi, or Freedom, Square on Thursday to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

"You should basically throw away all of our facilities but again, our nation stood firm, our dear leadership stood firm and with the grace of the 12th Imam of the Shias, our nation today was victorious in the end and the Iranian nation became a nuclear nation."

Meanwhile, a soon-to-be released U.S. assessment of Iran's nuclear program is expected to conclude the government has resumed limited work on a nuclear weapon, according to a U.S. official.

Such a conclusion in the new National Intelligence Assessment would revise a controversial assessment released in 2007, which stated Iran had stopped its weaponization program in 2003. Many Western intelligence services disagreed with the U.S. conclusion at the time.

Filed under: Iran • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. J.Williams san diego

    Keep your head in the sand Gibbs..idiot.

    February 11, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Obama Victim

    not to worry......Obozo told them not to do it...and this time he said that he really, really, really,really meant it...sleep well everyone

    February 11, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Duck Fallas

    WAAH! I'm afraid of the Iranians!! We should start another one of those wars that doesn't cost anything immediately!!

    February 11, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. seebofubar

    Gibbs--you're an idiot, and the unemployment rate won't go over 8% either right?

    February 11, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Albert R., L.A., CA

    Obama is missing the point. Their saying they have it is enough evidence for us to move beyond economic sanctions. Time has come to take out all their nuke projhects and their leaders.

    February 11, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. D.U.T.C.H.

    Sounds like a bunch of jibberish coming out of Ahmadinajad's mouth. The more he brags, the tougher the pending sanctions will be. I stand with and behind the Green Movement and thier chants of "Death to the Dictator and death to the Ayatollah."

    February 11, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Dar

    Just keep on doing nothing Odumbo and we will soon see Iran test their first nuke just like N.Korea did.
    Clinton stood by and watched India and Pakistan build nukes and now we are their friends. Just call a help desk sometime and see who answers.
    IM not saying that we should be the ones to punish Iran but Odumbo should push the U.N. very hard to get this resolved before it's to late.
    Talk is cheap and Iran isnt listening.

    2010/2012 REAL Change is coming

    February 11, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Eric, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    The Obama administration is a TOTAL DISASTER. Hopefully that snow will keep Washington DC closed until Nov. 2012 when he and his administration will be OUT.

    February 11, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Mrs. S Callahan

    We got your back Israel! Woe to those who tempt and taunt.

    February 11, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Where does all this false propaganda come from about Iran. It seems if there is so much known about what Iran is doing then we should be able to contain Iran. Stop the false propaganda we had enough of that from Bush and I'm glad President Obama isn't beating his war drum.

    February 11, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I would hope that the right wingnuts would not think answer to everything is war. We cannot afford the unnecessary one that Bush started, now would not be the time to start another one.

    February 11, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. wake up

    Is there ONE success for this absolute obamination of a presidency?

    February 11, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Mike Syracuse, NY

    So where are the 'grave consequences' Obama threatened if they didn't stop their nuclear program? He gave up the missile defense program for Europe to get Russian cooperation; so where is it? Face it Obozo was outmanuevered by both Iran and Russia. That's some diplomacy.

    February 11, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. wake up

    I thought Obama's magic kool-aid would work on Iran...except they laughed at how weak and inexperienced Obama is. O-fraud! Kool-aid drinkers, keep drinking...just try to pickup the constitution once and read it and see what this president is trampling over.

    February 11, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Socialism...keeping police/fire stations, roads, justice system and the military out of the hands of Capitalists

    @ seebofubar,

    Sure, the unemployment rate went higher than the administration said their policies would result in. But if you have the capabilities to go to a parallel universe in which McCain won the election and the unemployment rate turned out to be less (which is what you are implying would have been the case had McCain won), then bring my parellel self back and I will marry him.

    Unless you can do that, no one can prove without a doubt what the unemployment rate would have been had McCain won.

    February 11, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Vic of New York

    The thing about Tehran is that they are like the Cristian Right and Republicans in general - They'll lie about anything to achieve their goals.

    If we are willing to blast Tehran, we should be willing to blast away the Christian Rightist subversionists in this country and their puppet wing: the Republican Party.

    February 11, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. polly

    Ahmadinejad feels neglected. He is always wanting attention.

    February 11, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    The same idiots that worship Sarah Palin, think Fox Nonsense is "fair and balanced", and want "smaller government", are the very same ones who insist we attack Iran. Umm, who's going to pay for it??? Your stupidity must be painful.

    February 11, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  19. dan smith

    Obama and his whole cabinet are nothing more than a bunch of retards. Sometimes in human history there is a peace that will only be found on the other side of war. Bomb Iran's nuclear plants now or face the devastating consequences later

    February 11, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. dan smith

    Obama and Gibbs live in la la land.

    February 11, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Brian from NJ

    The White Houses dismisses their claims? Why? The Iranians just gave Obama the reason he needs to implement the "get tough" stance he has been speaking of... or was it all talk? Now is the time for him to stand up and show Iran he wasn't bluffing!

    February 11, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. dan smith

    That's o.k. Obama,if you don't take care of the Iranian threat, Isreal soon will. Then you can take credit for it just like you are with Iraq.

    February 11, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. dan smith

    What a loser we elected.

    February 11, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Tom L.

    Classic. The scary thing is that you guys actually believe that Republicans and Christians are more dangerous than this Iranian regime...

    February 11, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. mjm

    @Socialism...keeping police/fire stations, roads, justice system and the military out of the hands of Capitalists

    Love the logic. Are you sure you know what Socialism is? You may want to look it up before your next rant.

    February 11, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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