Iran to continue nuclear program under IAEA eyes
Xinhua, April 13, 2011
Iranian officials said Tuesday that Iran will continue its nuclear activities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), insisting that the country’s “inalienable” nuclear rights should be recognized.
Iran’s permanent representative to IAEA Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said Tuesday that Iran’s nuclear facilities are regularly inspected by the IAEA and Iran is committed to continue its cooperation with the agency within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), semi-official Fars news agency reported.
However, Soltanieh said the IAEA has no right to inspect “Taba”, which is the center for producing parts for centrifuges, arguing that the NPT does not require the inspection of plants producing centrifuge parts.
“According to the NPT (of which Iran is a signatory), there is no necessity for the inspection of the centers producing parts for centrifuges, including parts-producing Taba center, by the ( International Atomic Energy) agency,” Soltanieh told Fars on the sidelines of a meeting held in Tehran’s Khajeh Nasir Toosi University.
“Only centrifuges must be inspected, which is done regularly,” he was quoted as saying.
“Iran has always been ready for non-conditional talks,” Soltanieh said, referring to the next round of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (G5+1), and adding that “Iran’s inalienable ( nuclear) rights should be recognized.”
“There is also a principle that the space of the talks should be a space for cooperation, not confrontation,” he added.
Fereidoon Abbasi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said Iran is carrying out its enrichment activities under the IAEA’s surveillance and the agency’s inspectors conduct “regular and even snap” inspections of the Islamic republic’s enrichment facilities, the local satellite Press TV reported Tuesday.
The nuclear chief expressed hope that the IAEA would cooperate with Tehran and “avoid listening to those who lack adequate and precise information and relay incorrect data to international bodies.”
He announced that his country plans to build several nuclear research reactors following the successful production and testing of the second and third generations of Iranian-brand centrifuges.
“Iran plans to build four to five new reactors with a capacity of 10 to 20 megawatts in different provinces within the next few years to produce radio-medicine and perform research,” Abbasi was quoted as saying.
Fuel production or uranium enrichment to a purity level of 20 percent will not be halted, Abbasi said, adding that the country ” will produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor in due course.”
“To provide the fuel for these reactors, we need to continue with the 20-percent enrichment of uranium,” he said.
Abbasi also announced Iran’s plans to build a new enrichment site and to increase the amount of uranium enriched up to the 20- percent level.
On Monday, Abbasi said the Fordo nuclear enrichment site near the city of Qom was ready to be equipped with centrifuges.
“Fordo site is ready to be equipped with centrifuges. Centrifuge machines are under construction and we will inform the (International Atomic Energy) agency ahead of the installation of centrifuges in the site,” Abbasi told local ISNA news agency.
He also said the AEOI was installing the equipment required to turn uranium hexafluoride or UF6 into fuel plates for Tehran’s Research Reactor, according to Press TV.
UF6 is used in uranium enrichment process that produces fuel for nuclear reactors.
Iran had earlier produced dummy fuel plates, Abbasi said, adding that Tehran had no problem producing fuel for the reactor.
Iran’s top Presidential advisor Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi said Tuesday that Iran would soon be among top countries that produce nuclear fuel rods, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Project on manufacturing nuclear fuel rods with a 20-percent purity is in its final stages of completion and the 20-percent fuel rods will be used at Tehran’s Research Reactor, Samareh- Hashemi was quoted as saying.
In January, six world powers wrapped up crucial nuclear talks with Iran in Istanbul but failed to reach any agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
The West suspects that Iran’s uranium enrichment may be meant for producing nuclear weapons, which has been denied by Iranian officials.