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IAEA chief says `concerned` at Iran uranium plan

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano expressed concern on Tuesday over Iran`s decision to begin higher enrichment of uranium, after the agency received a letter from the Islamic republic informing it of the move.



Vienna: IAEA chief Yukiya Amano expressed
concern on Tuesday over Iran`s decision to begin higher enrichment
of uranium, after the agency received a letter from the
Islamic republic informing it of the move.

"IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano noted with concern
this decision, as it may affect, in particular, ongoing
international efforts to ensure the availability of nuclear
fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor," said Gill Tudor,
spokeswoman for the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy
Agency.

"The Director General reiterated the Agency`s readiness
to play an intermediary role on the issue of the Tehran
Research Reactor," she added.

Iran`s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted
sharp reactions from world powers after he called on his
country`s atomic chief yesterday to begin producing 20-percent enriched uranium.

The Islamic republic needs the fuel for a research
reactor in Tehran that makes radioisotopes for medical
purposes such as cancer treatment.

But Iran has so far seemed reluctant to enter a
UN-brokered deal, which would require it to ship its
low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia for further processing.

Western countries insist Iran do so to prove that its
controversial nuclear drive is entirely peaceful as Tehran
claims, but Iran sees such a deal as a ruse by the West to
confiscate its stockpiled uranium.

The IAEA confirmed that it had "received a letter from
the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) on 8 February
2010."

PTI

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