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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran tells IAEA it is building 2nd uranium enrichment plant

RIA Novosti

16:48 25/09/2009 VIENNA, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - The UN nuclear watchdog confirmed on Friday that Tehran had informed it that Iran was building a second uranium enrichment plant, the revelation that is likely to further fuel tensions over the country's disputed nuclear program.

"On September 21, Iran informed the IAEA in a letter that a new pilot fuel enrichment plant was under construction in the country," International Atomic Energy Agency official spokesman Marc Vidricaire said.

The Islamic Republic released details on the plant as six world powers are due to discuss its nuclear ambitions on October 1.

Iran told the watchdog that no nuclear material had been introduced to the new plant, and enrichment levels will only be sufficient to produce nuclear fuel, not a bomb.

The IAEA requested specific information and an immediate inspection of the facility to make sure it was for civilian needs.

The facility's location and the number of centrifuges planned for installation there have not been reported.

Iran's underground uranium enrichment center in Natanz has over 8,300 centrifuges and is expanding rapidly. Iranian authorities have repeatedly said the country needs 50,000 centrifuges to supply its future nuclear power plants with fuel.

The news is likely to add to pressure from major Western countries, which are now at a G20 summit of developed and developing nations in the U.S., for more sanctions against Tehran, which they suspect of secretly pursuing nuclear weapons.

Iran is under UN sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process needed for electricity generation and bomb production, and to give access to IAEA experts to check intelligence that Tehran has conducted nuclear weapons research.


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