TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran said on Wednesday it has produced around 30 kilogrammes of 20 percent-enriched uranium, in defiance of UN sanctions imposed on Tehran to suspend the contentious nuclear work.
“We have produced nearly 30 kilogrammes (66 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium so far,” Iran’s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.
World powers led by Washington want Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment activity, which is at the centre of fears that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons.
Enriched uranium can be used as fuel to power nuclear reactors as well as to make the fissile core of an atom bomb.
World powers backed new UN sanctions against Iran on June 9 after they were infuriated by Tehran’s decision to enrich uranium to 20 percent, which theoretically brings it closer to the 90 percent purity used to make a nuclear weapon. Iran denies its atomic programme is aimed at making weapons.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered Iran’s atomic body in February to start refining uranium to 20 percent after a nuclear fuel swap deal drafted by the UN atomic watchdog and aimed at providing fuel for a Tehran research reactor hit a deadlock.
Iran claims that by September 2011 it will domestically produce the required fuel and the actual fuel plates to power the reactor.
Western powers say that the Islamic republic does not possess the technology to make the plates.
Meanwhile, Iran and the group of six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — are to hold talks on Tehran’s overall nuclear programme in mid-November.