Tehran: Iran has succeeded in producing its first significant batch of further enriched uranium, the country's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday, a move defying UN demands to halt the controversial program.
The uranium has been enriched from around 3.5 percent to
20 percent purity, needed to fuel a medical research reactor,
Salehi said, according to a news agency.
That level is far below the more than 90 percent needed
to build a nuclear weapon, but US officials have expressed
concern Iran may be moving closer to the ability to reach
Washington is accelerating its campaign for a new round
of UN sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend
enrichment, as demanded by the United Nations. Salehi's
announcement was a further sign of Tehran's determination to
push ahead with the program.
Tehran began the further enrichment in February after
talks stalled over a UN-brokered proposal that the United
States hoped would at least temporarily leave Iran unable to
produce a warhead.
The US and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build a
nuclear weapon, a claim Iran denies.
Under the proposal, Iran was to send 2,420 pounds (1,100
kilogrammes) of low-enriched uranium abroad, where it would be
further enriched to 20 per cent and converted into fuel rods,
which would then be returned to Iran for use in the research
First Published: Thursday, April 15, 2010, 09:19