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News number: 9101140909

10:22 | 2012-04-09


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Iran Underlines Continued N. Enrichment

TEHRAN (FNA)- Tehran reiterated its nuclear rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) statute, and said it will neither close its Fordo nuclear facility nor give up uranium enrichment.

Those two demands, outlined by European and US diplomats to The New York Times newspaper, were "irrational," the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, told the Iranian students news agency in a lengthy interview.

Fordo, a uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom, "is built underground because of sanctions and the threats of attacks," he pointed out. "If they do not threaten us and guarantee that no aggression will occur, then there would be no need for countries to build facilities underground. They should change their behavior and language," he said.

Iran's enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity would likewise continue, despite unease from members of the Group 5+1 group (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), Abbasi Davani said.

"We do not see any rationale for such a request from the P5+1," he said.

But, he added, "We will not produce 20 percent enrichment fuel more than what we need, because it is not in our benefit to produce and keep it."

Iran needs 20-percent enriched uranium to produce medical isotopes in its Tehran research reactor, and lower, 3.5-percent enriched uranium for electricity generation in its Bushehr reactor.

Weapons-grade uranium should be enriched to the purity level of more than 93 percent, meaning that the uranium stockpiles in Iran which are enriched either to the purity level of 20 percent or from 3.5 to 5 percent are good for nothing but fueling research or power plant reactors.

However, the United States and its European allies, which have huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons and missiles, allege that even these low levels of enrichment in Iran frighten them.

The New York Times quoted unnamed US and EU diplomats as saying that the West would call in its upcoming talks with Iran for Fordo to be closed immediately and dismantled, and for uranium enrichment to 20 percent to be halted and for existing stockpiles to be shipped out of Iran.

"We have no idea how the Iranians will react," the paper quoted one senior US administration official as saying. "We probably won't know after the first meeting."