First Published: 2012-11-28


Defiant Iran vows to press on with uranium enrichment


Iran says it will pursue ‘with force’ sensitive work of enriching uranium, which lies at heart of international community's concerns.


Middle East Online

By Farhad Pouladi – TEHRAN

‘Arak reactor is on schedule’

Iran on Wednesday said it will pursue "with force" the sensitive work of enriching uranium, which lies at the heart of the international community's concerns over its atomic drive.

The remarks, by Iran's nuclear chief, come ahead of a meeting Thursday in Vienna of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over lack of progress in its efforts to verify whether Tehran's atomic activities are peaceful.

"We will continue enrichment with force," Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, was quoted as saying by official Iranian media.

"Despite (international) sanctions, we have had a significant increase in the number of old and new generation centrifuges and enrichment and we will continue this development in this (Iranian) year" ending March 2013, he said.

Since 2007, Iran has been slapped by several United Nations and Western sanctions for pursuing its nuclear programme, which the international community suspects of having a military dimension -- a charge vehemently denied by Tehran.

The United Nations has passed six resolutions urging Tehran to stop enriching uranium, but Iranian officials have insisted they would pursue the process and not give in to sanctions.

Iran maintains it has a right to undertake the process as the Islamic republic is signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The IAEA in its November report reiterated that it was "unable... to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

The five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, known as the P5+1 group and who have been negotiating in vain for the past three years with Iran, proposed last week to resume "as soon as possible" further talks with Tehran after the failure of the previous dialogue held in June in Moscow.

Tehran has not responded publicly to the proposal.

Abbasi Davani meanwhile said Iran would "soon test" its heavy water reactor which is under construction at the central town of Arak with "virtual fuel."

The IAEA noted in its report that Tehran was six months behind the earlier planned date of commissioning of the facility in the first quarter of 2014.

"Despite rumours, I say it with determination that with God's help and the effort exerted by our experts the Arak reactor is on schedule and is progressing without any problems," he said.

The nuclear chief said, without elaborating, that Iran was going ahead with caution on the reactor because of "security and safety issues since the enemy wants to inflict damage to the reactor."

"Other than that there is no technical problem," he said.

The heavy water nuclear reactor has been condemned by the Security Council and is being closely monitored by the IAEA.

The reactor does not require enriched uranium but uses plutonium which may have military applications.


Iraq PM: Mosul offensive moving ‘faster than expected’

Russia's Aleppo ‘humanitarian pause’ takes effect

Trump in unprecedented assault on US political convention

Former army commander Aoun to be Lebanon president

Food crisis reaching critical levels north of South Sudan

Israeli occupation troops kill Palestinian teenager

Iraqis flee IS-held Mosul for war-torn Syria

Five years after his death, Kadhafi's 'Green Book' is ridiculed in Libya

Iraq issues warrant for former governor of Mosul

EU leaders threaten sanctions against Assad allies

Syria army urges residents to evacuate Aleppo during ceasefire

British warships shadow Syria-bound Russian naval force

Turkey unexpectedly keeps interest rate steady

British PM urges united EU response to Russia over Syria 'atrocities'

UN gets ‘green light’ from all parties for Aleppo evacuations

Iran president: we must be hospitable to foreign businessmen

British Al-Jazeera reporter freed in Somalia

Turkish planes raid US-backed Kurdish militias

Scattered clashes undermine fragile Yemen truce

Israel PM concerned Obama may act before leaving office

Kurds launch fresh push against IS around Mosul

ISIS leaders flee Mosul as Iraq forces close in

With Syria on the table, Putin faces grilling at Berlin talks

In rare move, Kuwait royal files to contest parliamentary election

Israel rejects request to transfer Palestinian graves threatened by IS

Russia extends Aleppo humanitarian pause to 11 hours

ETA still here, but Spain shifts focus to fight against jihadists

Iran to launch first oil and gas tenders

Hariri intends to support Aoun for Lebanon vacant presidency

Russia says Mosul liberation could ‘drive terrorists’ from Iraq to Syria

620 Syrian rebels quit besieged town in deal with regime

Iraqi artist pessimistic about homeland’s future

UN says requires safety assurances for Aleppo aid deliveries

Israeli officers shoot dead Palestinian holding knife

Heavy clashes in Yemen ahead of latest truce

Iraqi forces to recapture Christian town en route to Mosul

Thousands throng Jerusalem for Jewish holiday

Iran rejects US demand to release nationals

Putin in phone talks on Mosul with Turkish, Iraqi leaders

Belgium denies Russian accusation of killing civilians in Aleppo

Pause in Aleppo air war holds into second day

Hollande, Merkel, Putin meet for talks on Syria

IS trapping Mosul civilians to use as human shields

For ISIS jihadists, losing Mosul spells caliphate doom

Clashes between Somali troops, Shabaab in key town