Iran’s claims that it is able to enrich uranium to a level almost needed for an atomic bomb have been dismissed by Washington.
Nuclear advances were hailed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran marked the 31st anniversary of its Islamic Revolution. But the White House says he was talking politics not physics.
“Quite frankly, what Ahmadinejad says, he says many things, many of them turn out to be untrue,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
“We do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the degree which they now say they are enriching.”
Away from the presidential showpiece, would-be protesters who believe Ahmadinejad’s re-election last June was rigged were reported to have met stiff opposition. It is a sign of the government’s desperation according to Reza Pahlavi, son of Iran’s late Shah.
“I don’t think that scenes of crackddown are an indication of the regime strengthening its position,” Pahlavi said. “It is simply an indication that the regime is so desperate that they have taken it to the very end of attempting to intimidate people by becoming even more violent.”
Denying any intention to build an atomic bomb, Tehran’s treatment of anti-government activists also remains under scrutiny. Amid signs a clampdown is continuing, the US says Iran has imposed a “near total” blockade on the flow of information in the country.