Ahmadinejad Hints Iran Resolved to Make 20 PCT Nuclear Fuel
By Admin - Sun Jan 24, 9:08 pm
TEHRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hinted on Sunday that Tehran would itself pursue uranium enrichment to higher levels if the West spurns its offer of a phased fuel swap, promising Iranians “sweet” news in the days ahead.
Ahmadinejad said Iran will make an announcement regarding the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity when the nation marks next month the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution which toppled the US-backed shah.
“Iran has given a chance to Western countries,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by Fars news agency when asked by reporters about Iran’s deadline to world powers over the controversial nuclear fuel deal.
“Therefore, during the 10 days of dawn (February 1 to 11) we will announce good news regarding the production of 20 percent enriched fuel in our country,” he said referring to the period marking the 1979 Islamic revolution.
“This news is so sweet that it will make any Iranian and any freedom loving person in the world happy. This news is about Iran’s scientific advancement,” Fars quoted the president as saying.
The UN atomic watchdog has offered a proposal which sees the bulk of Iran’s low-enriched uranium of 3.5 percent purity being sent to Russia and France in one shot for further enrichment to 20 percent level and then returned as fuel for a Tehran research reactor.
Enriched uranium of 20 percent purity is used as fuel to power nuclear reactors and Iran needs it to run its internationally-monitored Tehran facility.
Iranian officials, however, have offered a counter-proposal of a phased fuel swap and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki gave the West an end-January deadline to accept the Iranian plan.
World powers led by Washington are against Iran enriching uranium as it can be used a fuel in nuclear reactors and also to make the fissile core of atom bomb.