staff and news service reports
updated 4/7/2012 4:27:39 AM ET 2012-04-07T08:27:39

A prominent Iranian lawmaker said Iran has the knowledge and scientific capability to produce nuclear weapons — but will never do so.

Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam said Iran can easily produce the highly enriched uranium that is used to build atomic bombs but it is not Tehran's policy to go that route.

Moghadam made the comment in an interview with the parliament's news website,, late Friday.

His views do not represent the Iranian government's policy. It is the first time that a prominent Iranian politician has publicly stated that Iran has the technological capability to produce a nuclear weapon.

The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

In a statement earlier this week on the Iranian parliament's English-language website, Asqar Jalalian, a member of the Majlis Energy Commission, said Iran's nuclear program was part of global efforts to be more environmentally friendly.

"The nuclear science is currently viewed as one of the foundations of sustainable development in many countries," he said.

Video: Clinton: Time for diplomacy almost up for Iran (on this page)

On Friday, The New York Times reportedthat Iran's leaders appeared to be showing signs of concern about the country's increased isolation in the world, as they backpedaled from criticism of Turkey, which is to host talks about Iran's disputed nuclear program.

Iran officer says it could hit US, if attacked

Iranian officials had called for the talks, on April 13 and 14, to be moved to a different country, saying Turkey was neither fair nor neutral toward Iran, the paper reported.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan hit back saying the Iranians "keep losing credibility in the world" because of a "lack of honesty," the Times said.

Iran responded with what the paper described as a "veiled apology," saying Iran and Turkey were brotherly regional powers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Clinton: Time for diplomacy almost up for Iran

  1. Transcript of: Clinton: Time for diplomacy almost up for Iran

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: Overseas tonight, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is attending a summit with world leaders discussing two Mideast hot spots, Iran and Syria . And the secretary of state isn't mincing words when it comes to either country, issuing warnings to both. Our chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is traveling with Secretary Clinton in Istanbul .

    ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: Lester , Secretary Clinton is warning that time is running out for diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program and expressing doubt about whether Iran is even serious about a diplomatic solution.

    Secretary of State HILLARY CLINTON: What is certain, however, is that Iran 's window to seek and obtain a peaceful resolution will not remain open forever.

    MITCHELL: More than a year after Iran broke off nuclear talks, negotiations with Iran will resume two weeks from now here in Istanbul . During meetings in Saudi Arabia before arriving in Turkey tonight, Clinton also is urging the gulf countries to strengthen their missile defenses against Iran . Meanwhile, on the eve of a summit here on the crisis next door in Syria , Saudi Arabia wants to arm the rebels. The US is offering non-lethal aid only, arguing that the Syrian opposition is too disorganized to become an effective military force. But both the US and the Arab leaders are calling for a deadline on former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan 's diplomacy. President Assad of Syria has continued shelling civilian neighborhoods, even after saying that he was accepting Annan 's proposed cease-fire. The UN estimates that more than 9,000 people have died since the rebellion began.

    Lester: Andrea Mitchell in Istanbul tonight.



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