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Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Iran's nuclear 'capacity creep'


The UN nuclear watchdog says it has information that Iran has carried out tests "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device".

Analysing the situation, Gordon Correra said that while Iran is not "going hell for leather for a bomb as quickly as they can", it is engaged in "capacity creep" that would allow it to build a bomb as quickly as possible if the order was given.

Former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said that there is "no serious doubt" that Iran wants to have the capacity to build a bomb if they so chose - a move, he said, that would "totally destabilise the Middle East".

While international sanctions were damaging the Iranian economy, he said, the only way to build diplomatic pressure on Iran was for the Arab states themselves to "put their heads above the parapet".

However, former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton, said that only "a decision by Iran itself" can prevent it acquiring a nuclear weapon.

He suggested a "pause" in sanctions and a comprehensive offer to Iran - including the threat of even stricter sanctions - to bring them to the negotiating table.

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