Tehran steps up nuclear programme
Tehran, June 24, 2010
Iran has enriched 17kg of uranium to 20 per cent purity, a top official said, underscoring Tehran's determination to push ahead with its nuclear programme despite new international sanctions.
Iran's enrichment activities are at the heart of its standoff with the West which fears it is seeking nuclear weapons capability. Two weeks ago, the UN Security Council agreed to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Iran.
The move alarmed the West as it was seen as a significant step towards making weapons-grade uranium, which is 90 per cent enriched. Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes and primarily aimed at electricity generation.
'We have already produced 17 kg of 20 per cent enriched uranium, and we have the ability to produce 5 kg each month but we do not rush,' Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, was quoted as saying in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
'We do not want to produce anything which we do not need and we don't want to convert all our uranium reserves to 20 per cent enriched uranium.'
Salehi said earlier that the Tehran medical reactor required around 1.5 kg of fuel per month. By in early April Iran had produced 5.7 kg, according to the IAEA.
Mark Fitzpatrick, senior fellow for non-proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London said that around 200 kg of 20 per cent enriched uranium, if further enriched, would be required to make a nuclear bomb. – TradeArabia News Service