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.

 

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

Kerry in Paris for talks on long-term Gaza truce

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan

Another bloody day as Israel targets civilians in UN-run school

‘Islamic State’ launches multiple attacks on Syria army

Attack on Egypt army post bears fingerprints of foreign intelligence

Harassment of Christians escalates in Islamist-run Sudan

Air Algerie plane goes missing over Mali

Algeria plane with many French nationals on board vanishes over Mali

Iraqi protesters denounce treatment of minority Christians

Iraq elects Kurdish politician as federal president

Russia begins supplying military equipment to Iraq

Air Algerie plane contact lost over west Africa

South Sudan warring sides to resume peace talks

Baghdad closer to breaking political limbo

Spectacular attack on Iraq prisoner convoy

Gaza death toll passes 700 mark

Mladenov pleads for UN help to end IS 'atrocities' in Iraq

Hamas hails suspension of Israel flights as 'great victory'

Lebanon army records first case of desertion to join Syria Nusra Front

Iraq gunmen kill female former candidate for parliament

Kerry cites ‘some steps forward’ in Gaza truce efforts

Turkey hunts for nine intelligence officers in wire-tapping probe

Suspension of hostilities in Gaza to allow medical assistance

Assassination of famed Somali musician and lawmaker

Sisi defends Egypt in trying to broker Gaza truce

Syria welcomes nomination of Staffan de Mistura as new UN envoy