Vienna: Iran had produced at least 5.7
kilogrammes of higher-enriched uranium, which it says it is
producing for a research reactor, as of early April, according
to a restricted UN report seen by a news agency on Monday.
"On April 7, 2010, Iran withdrew 5.7 kilogrammes of UF6
(uranium hexafluoride) from the first cascade" at its pilot
fuel enrichment plant in Natanz, the International Atomic
Energy Agency report said.
"According to Iran, this UF6 was enriched to 19.7 per
But a senior diplomat with knowledge of the IAEA`s Iran
investigation said that the actual amount was more.
"The 5.7 kilogrammes was in early April. But it has
continued to produce it since then. It`s more," the diplomat
said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The enriched uranium, which Iran says it needs for a
research reactor that makes radioisotopes for medical
purposes, but which the West fears is ultimately intended for
a nuclear weapon, was being produced at an estimated rate of
around 100 grammes per day, the diplomat added.
Iran, which has so far been enriching uranium to levels
of no more than 5.0 percent in Natanz, started enriching to
close to 20 per cent purification in February, ostensibly to
make fuel for a research reactor in Tehran.
The move, in defiance of UN sanctions, drew wide
condemnation from western countries because it brings the
Islamic republic closer to levels needed to make the fissile
material for a nuclear bomb.
Tehran insists that its controversial nuclear activities
are exclusively peaceful, but the West believes Iran is
covertly seeking to make a bomb.
In an IAEA-brokered deal last October, the United States,
Russia and France proposed that they take most of Iran`s
stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) and turn it into the
fuel rods for the research reactor.
But Iran was refused to take up the offer and has drawn
up a deal with Brazil and Turkey instead. And it has riled the
West by insisting on further enriching uranium to higher
levels on its own, even though it is not believed to have the
technology to produce the fuel rods for the reactor.
According to the IAEA report, Iran has amassed some 2,427
kilogrammes of LEU so far, double the amount it says it is
ready to transfer to Turkey for further processing.