Iran continues uranium enrichment: UN agency

November 20th, 2008 - 1:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Nov 20 (IANS) Iran is continuing with its uranium enrichment activities and has set up 6,000 centrifuges, the UN nuclear watchdog has said in a report. Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammed ElBaradei in a report Wednesday said Tehran has obtained some two tonnes of enriched industrial uranium since it started refining the nuclear fuel two years ago, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

The report said IAEA inspectors could not verify if Iran has diverted its activities to a secret weapons programme, noting that interaction between the agency and the Iranian government had been virtually cut off for several months.

The US and the West suspect that Iran has a secret weapon programme in the guise of a civilian nuclear plan and have demanded that Tehran stop enriching uranium.

Enriched uranium is used as fuel for nuclear power plant but at a higher degree of refining it could also be used for making an atom bomb.

Iran has demonstrated a capability possessed by only about ten countries. Because of the characteristics of gas centrifuges, the Iranian facility could be used for the production of low enriched uranium for civil purposes or highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, depending on the decision of the government.

The Iranian government has persistently refused to stop its nuclear activities saying its nuclear programme is civilian in nature and has been slapped with three sets of mild diplomatic sanctions by the UN.

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