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.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Jihadists flock to fight on ‘unprecedented scale’

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

US to examine troops exposed to chemicals in Iraq

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli