TEHRAN, Iran, AP -Iran has decided to resume research into nuclear fuel production that has long been suspended, a top nuclear official said on state television Tuesday.
Mohammad Saeedi, Deputy Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Iran had suffered a lot from its suspension of such research during the past two and a half years and that it could no longer keep its scientists from this type of work.
Saeedi did not say what nuclear activity Iran would now resume, but he said no decision had been made to resume uranium enrichment.
The West has long opposed Iran’s enrichment of uranium as the process, when pursued to high levels, can produce the fuel for atomic weapons.
“It has been decided that the International Atomic Energy Agency will be informed today about (our) research in the field of nuclear fuel. Research will resume in cooperation and coordination with the IAEA in the next few days,” Saeedi said.
Iran has come under heavy international pressure from the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and the West to abandon its program to produce fuel for its Russian-built nuclear reactor that is due to come on stream this year.
It has refused to renounce the enrichment of uranium, but it suspended many aspects of its nuclear fuel program as a gesture of good will during negotiations with the big three European powers, Britain, France and Germany.
The negotiations have failed to resolve the dispute.
The United States has accused Iran of secretly aspiring to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying its program is limited to producing electricity from nuclear sources.