Sunday, April 30, 2006

Iran admits to producing higher grade uranium

The Age:
Iran has enriched uranium to more than 4 per cent, an Iranian official said, a level higher than Iran previously told the UN nuclear watchdog but still well below the range needed to make nuclear weapons. READ MORE

Iran had told the International Atomic Energy Agency two weeks ago that it had enriched uranium to 3.6 per cent, a level which the agency confirmed from samples.

According to experts, uranium enriched to a range of 3 to 5 per cent is used in atomic power reactors.

Uranium needs to be enriched to 80 per cent or more to make nuclear weapons, which is what the West fears Iran wants.

"We have done enrichment in the range of above 4 per cent," Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, said on Iranian state television.

He also repeated Iran's position that it would not give up enrichment, describing it as an "issue of life and death for Iranian society" and saying the goal enjoyed broad support.

"It is up to Iran to decide if it will keep enrichment at a pilot level or move towards an industrial scale," he said.