Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Iran to announce nuclear 'breakthrough'

Iran will soon announce an atomic breakthrough, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported today, a day after the country responded to an offer aimed at resolving a nuclear standoff.

'This great scientific achievement is the fruit of a long-term research project ... It will be formally announced by a top official,' Mehr quoted an informed source as saying. READ MORE

'The announcement will highlight Iran's mastery of different areas in nuclear science and will reinforce Iran's position as a nuclear country,' the report said.

Amid a fanfare of publicity, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced in April that Iran had successfully enriched uranium to 3.5 pct and mastered the nuclear fuel cycle.

The United States suspects Iran is using a civilian nuclear programme to secretly develop atomic weapons, but Tehran says it only wants to produce electricity.

The United Nations Security Council has given Iran until August 31 to halt enrichment and reprocessing activities, or face possible sanctions.

Iran on Tuesday responded to an offer from six world powers of negotiations on trade, technology and security benefits if Iran freezes its strategic nuclear fuel work.