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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia voices concern over Iran's second enrichment plant

RIA Novosti

22:36 25/09/2009 PITTSBURGH, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's president voiced concern on Friday over Iran's revelations on a second uranium enrichment facility, and urged the country to provide reassurances over its nuclear program.

Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement circulated at a G20 economic summit in Pittsburgh that the fact that Iran has been building a uranium facility for several years without informing the UN nuclear watchdog is a "source of serious concern."

"The construction of a new uranium enrichment facility runs counter to the UN Security Council's repeated demands that Iran freeze its enrichment activities," Medvedev said.

He urged the country to take steps to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful before a meeting with six world powers in Geneva on October 1.

"The [Iran Six] meeting will give Iran an opportunity to show that it is still searching for a diplomatic solution to the problem," Medvedev said. "We hope Iran will provide convincing proof that it is seeking purely civilian nuclear technology."

The statement echoes the U.S. president's response to the disclosure earlier on Friday. Barack Obama said Iran "is breaking rules that all nations must follow," and that the country "must now demonstrate through deeds its peaceful intentions or be held accountable."

Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency about a partially-built second uranium facility, saying no nuclear material had been introduced to the new plant, and enrichment levels would only be sufficient to produce nuclear fuel, not a bomb.

The IAEA confirmed earlier on Friday it had received the information. France said Iran would face more sanctions if its leaders did not review their policy by the December deadline.

Iran is under three sets of UN Security Council sanctions over refusal to halt uranium enrichment, needed both for electricity generation and weapons production.

Iran's underground uranium enrichment center in Natanz, subject to UN inspections, 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.

Medvedev also joined Western leaders' calls for immediate UN inspections at the site, and pledged assistance from Russia, which has traditionally supported Iran in international disputes.

In an interview with Time magazine just before the news broke out in Pittsburgh, the outspoken Iranian leader dismissed charges of secrecy around the new plant. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said his country had no problems cooperating with the IAEA.

"We have no secrecy and we work from within the framework of the IAEA. And based on specific regulations and predetermined timeframes we disclose information about our operations and facilities to the IAEA. Not that anyone forces us to," he told the magazine.

He said Iran must not "inform Mr. Obama's administration of every facility that we have."


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