Ahmadinejad orders 20 percent-uranium enrichment in Iran

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered Iran's atomic chief on Sunday to enrich uranium to 20 percent.

Ahmadinejad orders 20 percent-uranium enrichment in Iran

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered Iran's atomic chief on Sunday to enrich uranium to 20 percent.

Western powers want Iran to send most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad in return for higher-refined fuel for the Tehran reactor.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said the Islamic Republic can make fuel enriched to 20 percent itself if there is no agreement on obtaining the material from abroad.

"We had told them (the West) to come and have a swap, although we could produce the 20 percent enriched fuel ourselves," Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech.

"We gave them two-to-three months' time for such a deal. They started a new game and now I (ask) Dr Salehi to start work on the production of 20 percent fuel using centrifuges," he said, referring to Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the atomic energy body.

But he added: "The doors for interaction are still open."

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Friday he saw good prospects for agreement, but restated two conditions that could be stumbling blocks -- that any fuel exchange must be simultaneous and that Iran would determine quantities involved.

He said on Saturday he had "a very good meeting" with the head of the U.N. nuclear agency on the fuel swap plan.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano said he wanted dialogue with Iran to speed up.

Ahmadinejad also said Iran had the capability to enrich uranium using laser technology, without elaborating.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told ISNA news agency on Sunday: "Iran's stance on the nuclear fuel swap has not changed. Iran is still ready to do such an exchange and if the other side is ready we can negotiate over the details of such a deal."


Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Şubat 2010, 16:11
Add Comment