In what appears to be the first acknowledgement by any high-ranking Iranian official that Iran has attained nuclear fission production capability, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary-General Ali Larijani, who is in charge of Iran's nuclear talks, said on Monday, February 6, 2006 that Iran had attained nuclear fission production capability.
Speaking in Persian, Larijani answered "Yes" to a reporter's question, "Have Iran’s nuclear scientists attained nuclear fission [production] capability?" However, in the English-language report on his statement in the Tehran Times, the paper added the word "controlled," which did not exist in his statement in Persian.
These reports may suggest that Iran has moved another step towards attaining indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability. Yet it was not clear whether Tehran Times and Sharq were referring to a capability - which could imply that Iran possesses either highly enriched uranium or plutonium for military purposes, thus violating the NPT - or to a result of a chain reaction typical of activity in the operation of a controlled civilian or research nuclear reactor. It should be underlined that there is no operational civilian reactor in Iran today; therefore, this would most likely be achieved in a research reactor.
 Sharq (Iran), February 7, 2006, http://www.sharghnewspaper.com/841118/html/iran.htm#s368322
 Tehran Times (Iran), February 7, 2006.
For more on the Iranian nuclear issue, see:
* MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 253, " The ‘Second Islamic Revolution’ in Iran: Power Struggle at the Top," November 17, 2005, The ‘Second Islamic Revolution’ in Iran: Power Struggle at the Top
* MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 957, "Chief Iranian Nuclear Affairs Negotiator Hosein Musavian: The Negotiations with Europe Bought Us Time to Complete the Esfahan UCF Project and the Work on the Centrifuges in Natanz,"August 12, 2005, Chief Iranian Nuclear Affairs Negotiator Hosein Musavian: The Negotiations with Europe Bought Us Time to Complete the Esfahan UCF Project and the Work on the Centrifuges in Natanz
* MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 940, "Senior Iranian Official: Europe Will Recognize Iran's Right to a Limited Nuclear Fuel Cycle; Iran to Start Operations at Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility," July 22, 2005, Senior Iranian Official: Europe Will Recognize Iran's Right to a Limited Nuclear Fuel Cycle; Iran to Start Operations at Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility
* MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 218, "Head of Iranian Nuclear Negotiating Team Sirus Nasseri: ‘We Are Walking on a Knife's Edge’; U.S. and EU Should ‘Get Used to the Idea of a Nuclear Iran’ '" April 7, 2005,