Ahmadinejad asserts Iran will enrich uranium to higher levels

Iran will adhere to its plans to enrich its uranium to 20 percent, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Dec. 2, rejecting international attempts to reach a deal to stop it amid fears Iran’s objective is to build a nuclear weapon.

Al-Shorfa and wire services

2009-12-05

TEHRAN — Iran will adhere to its plans to enrich its uranium to 20 percent, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on December 2, rejecting international attempts to reach a deal to stop it amid fears Iran’s objective is to build a nuclear weapon.

Negotiations with world powers have soured and Iran says it will build 10 new enrichment plants. Civilian nuclear power requires uranium enriched to about 3 percent, but weapons grade uranium needs to be enriched to 90 percent.

Iran claims that its nuclear programme is entirely for civilian purposes.

Nations trying to negotiate a deal with Iran suggested its uranium enrichment for civilian nuclear energy could be regulated if Iran handed over its uranium to Russia to manage the process. But Iran rejected the deal saying it would only agree to a simultaneous swap of fuel within its own borders.

In his December 2 address in Isfahan, Ahmadinejad said that the countries with which Iran is negotiating, the U.S., UK, France, Germany, China and Russia, known as the P5+1, had imposed too many conditions. He condemned as "illegal" a resolution passed last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) condemning its development of a uranium enrichment site in secret.

In what it said was a response to the censure, Iran announced on November 29 that it would build another 10 uranium enrichment sites, although experts doubt it has the resources to do so.

Ahmadinejad said Israel and the West could not "do a damn thing to stop Iran's nuclear work".

Russia, previously considered an ally of Iran, joined the vote at the IAEA headquarters that condemned Iran for the cover-up of a second nuclear facility in the mountains near Qom. In return, Ahmadinejad on December 1 criticised Russia, saying it had "made a mistake" in condemning Tehran.

Existing UN sanctions are meant to prevent the flow of any items or technology that might aid Iran in enriching uranium or developing nuclear weapon delivery systems. The sanctions range from actual sales or supplies to dealings with named individuals.

[BBC]

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