Tehran: Reversing the country’s previous statements, the Iranian nuclear chief has said that Tehran would not halt the production of higher-grade uranium.
Fereydoon Abbasi, said there would be no suspension of enrichment by Iran, the central requirement of several United Nations Security Council resolutions.
His remarks came after talks in Baghdad with the West last week ended badly, The New York Times reports.
“We have no reason to retreat from producing the 20 percent, because we need 20 percent uranium just as much to meet our needs,” Abbasi told the Iranian state television.
Abbasi’s remarks, which included an announcement that Iran would start building two nuclear power plants in 2013, are bound to complicate the already difficult nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers, which are to be continued in Moscow on June 18.
According to the paper, if the talks fail, the powers are planning to tighten sanctions on Iranian exports and financial dealings as early as July 1, including placing an embargo on all sales of Iranian oil to Europe.
Before the Baghdad meeting, Abbasi had hinted that Iran was ready to compromise on its program of enriching uranium up to 20 percent with the isotope capable of sustaining nuclear fission, which it says it needs to fuel an aging United States-designed medical reactor.