Following are excerpts from an interview with Ali-Akbar Salehi, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on October 12, 2010:
Ali-Akbar Salehi: Technology must be based on science and specialization. Science is found in books and studies. For example, I graduate in nuclear engineering in the U.S. I have acquired much knowledge in the nuclear field from the U.S., and I am grateful to my American professors. As for technology, you will not acquire it unless you enter the nuclear field, in industry, in experiments, in labs...
We acquired information from the back market 10 years ago... No, it was more than that... 15-17 years ago. That's how we entered this field. We announced this to the IAEA in Vienna.
Interviewer: You are saying that you acquired nuclear technology from the black market, as if you were talking about the food or textile industry. We are talking about nuclear technology.
Ali-Akbar Salehi: For example, we acquired a model of a centrifuge, because we did not have any experience with centrifuges at the time. To design centrifuges ourselves would have taken a long time. Therefore, we acquired several models of centrifuges on the black market. The centrifuges that we acquired from the black market were not complete, but we completed it. Using this centrifuge and all the information, we managed to save time.
Currently, Iran is at the point of no return.
Interviewer: You have reached the point of no return?
Ali-Akbar Salehi: Yes, we have reached the point of no return, the stage of industrial production. Currently, the quantity we produced is more than 1.5 tons per year, and we may increase it to 2-2.5 tons per year. The production increases daily. This is the point of no return.