| GEO World|
| Iran has fissile materials for bomb: Mullen|
| Updated at: 0919 PST, Monday, March 02, 2009|
WASHINGTON: The top U.S. military official said Sunday that Iran has sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon, declaring it would be a ``very, very bad outcome'' should Tehran move forward with a bomb?
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered the assessment when questioned in a broadcast interview about a recent report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog on the state of Iran's uranium enrichment program, which can create nuclear fuel and may be sufficiently advanced to produce the core of warheads.
Mullen was asked if Iran now had enough fissile material to make a bomb. He responded, ``We think they do, quite frankly. And Iran having a nuclear weapon I've believed for a long time is a very, very bad outcome for the region and for the world.''
State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood said Sunday that it was not possible say how much fissile material Iran has accumulated. ``There are differing view not only outside government but also inside the government'' on how far Iran has gone, Wood said. He added that while he was not suggesting Mullen was incorrect, ``We just don't know'' exactly how much fissile material Iran now holds. ``We are concerned they are getting close'' to having enough to build a nuclear weapon, he added. Wood spoke to reporters traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Egypt.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has processed the 2,222 pounds (1,010 kilograms) of low-enriched uranium. But the report left unclear whether Iran is now capable, even if it wanted, of further processing that material into a sufficient quantity of highly enriched uranium to arm one weapon. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, also appearing on the Sunday talk shows, did not go as far as Mullen. The Iranians, Gates said, are ``not close to a weapon at this point and so there is some time ''for continued diplomatic efforts.