Iran increases uranium enrichment activities (TELEGRAPH UK) 07/25/12)
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Iran is defiantly forging on with its controversial nuclear
activities by activating hundreds more uranium enrichment
centrifuges, according to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"There are currently 11,000 centrifuges active in enrichment
facilities" in Iran, he was quoted by state media as saying late on
Tuesday in a meeting with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and
senior regime officials.
That was more than the 10,000 centrifuges Iran was last said to have
had operating, according to a May 25 report by the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Ahmadinejad´s reported comments did not give a more precise figure
nor detail how many centrifuges were now working at each of Iran´s
two enrichment sites: Natanz and the heavily fortified underground
bunker of Fordo.
Fordo has emerged as one of the most contentious points in fruitless
negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations, which
comprises the top UN Security Council powers the United States,
Britain, France, Russia, and China, plus Germany.
The Security Council has demanded Iran suspend all uranium enrichment
and has imposed four sets of sanctions to pressure it to comply. The
IAEA, the UN´s nuclear watchdog, has said it suspects there is a
military dimension to Iran´s nuclear programme.
The United States and the European Union have added their own
sanctions on Iran, but the Islamic republic has defiantly said it
would continue with its nuclear activities.
The IAEA report in May said there were 9,330 installed centrifuges in
Natanz, of which 8,818 were being fed uranium hexafluoride gas to
produce enriched uranium.
The Fordo facility, near the holy city of Qom, had 696 working
centrifuges, the report said.
The enrichment activities have produced stockpiles of uranium
enriched to purities of 3.5 per cent and 19.75 per cent.
Iran says the former is to fuel its nuclear power reactor in the
southern city of Bushehr, while the higher-grade uranium is to make
medical isotopes for cancer patients in its Tehran research reactor.
Western powers, though, fear the 19.75-per cent enriched uranium
could, in just a few technical steps more, be processed into bomb-
grade, 90-percent uranium.
Iran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful, but has
rebuffed repeated attempts by the IAEA to expand its ongoing
surveillance and inspections, notably to include a suspect sprawling
military facility in Parchin, outside Tehran.
Source: AFP (© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012.
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