Thursday, October 06, 2005

Iran: Progress made in nuclear fuel cycle program

The Jerusalem Post:
Iran has made progress in its nuclear fuel cycle program, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or atomic weapons, the president said in a television interview late Wednesday.

Ultraconservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said Iran was studying offers by several European countries for negotiations over its nuclear program but warned that Tehran won't accept talks that seek to deny it of its right to enrich uranium.

"In the sphere of nuclear fuel cycle activities, today we are one step ahead of two months ago," Ahmadinejad told state-run television.

The president was apparently referring to the several tons of uranium gas that Iran has produced since it resumed uranium reprocessing activities at its Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan, central Iran, in early August. READ MORE

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi suggested Tuesday that tons of uranium gas Iran has produced since August was low-quality and unusable as feedstock for enrichment but said it was natural for an indigenous program like the one pursued by Iran. He explained that Iran needs to encourage its scientists and complete its uranium enrichment program.

Ahmadinejad reiterated that Iran was open to dialogue with Europe but said Tehran won't accept negotiations that do not recognize its right to enrich uranium.

Uranium enrichment does not violate the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory.