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