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.

 

Iran sees Syria talks as opportunity to gain influence

Arab Israelis strike in protest over house demolitions

Explosions in Gaza target Fatah member

UN expert tells Saudi to end ban on women driving

More than 20 firefighters feared dead in Tehran building collapse

Trump to retain envoy to anti-IS coalition

Desalination plant opens in Gaza to tackle water crisis

Syria’s Assad hopes rebels disarm after Astana talks

UN says 400,000 Syrian child refugees in Turkey not in school

Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis

Greece, Cyprus insist peace deal must include Turkish withdrawal

Mistura to lead UN delegation at Astana Syria talks

Turkey slams French satire song about Istanbul attack

Saudi minister says kingdom to become ‘softer’ after reforms

Bahrain lifts ban on electronic Al-Wasat newspaper

Kuwait upholds sentence for three royals for insulting judges

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers

Russia, Turkey stage first joint air strikes against IS in Syria

IS advances on terrified citizens of Syria’s Deir Ezzor

In path to greater executive power, Erdogan faces weak Turkey economy

Switzerland drops war crimes case against former Algerian defence minister

Patience wears thin in Iraq's Fallujah

Iraq forces 'liberate' eastern Mosul

New UN chief stresses importance of Syria peace talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker 'received orders from IS'

Turkish border officials refuse entry to NYT reporter

Fatah, Hamas agree to form unity government

Syria war forces elderly to take shelter in retirement homes

Snowden’s stay in Russia extended by two years

Palestinian home demolitions spark deadly violence

East Syria clashes continue between IS, regime forces

Syrian general, 8 soldiers killed in tunnel blast

Florida airport shooter ‘inspired’ by IS jiahdists

US-led coalition warplanes hit IS near Syria's Al-Bab

Iran opposes US joining Syria talks

Turkey snubs UN hearing on detained Rwanda genocide judge

Rouhani calls for end to Saudi ‘interference’ across region

Saudi says China rise source of global stability not conflict

Lengthy drought leaves Somalia with serious famine risk