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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran to produce nuclear fuel 'in long-term perspective'

RIA Novosti

16:58 04/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) - Iran plans to continue its nuclear fuel program in the long term, the country's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

"Production of nuclear fuel is stipulated in Iran's long-term plans," ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.

"There are several ways to meet our [energy] requirements, and one of them is long-term planning aimed at ensuring self-sustainability," for which the country must be able domestically meet its requirements for nuclear fuel, he said.

Iran, which is already under three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, recently announced plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment facilities. Tehran insists it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity, while Western powers suspect it of pursuing an atomic weapons program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week censured Iran for withholding information on its nuclear program. It also urged Iran to freeze construction of its newly revealed uranium enrichment facility near the city of Qom.

On Sunday, Iran's parliament demanded that the government reduce cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency following the resolution.

However, the spokesman said the government is currently not considering pulling out of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, despite the recent worsening in relations with the UN nuclear watchdog, and will maintain ties with the IAEA.

"We have no intention of breaking relations with the IAEA," Mehmanparast said. "We want to build 10 new plants under the monitoring of the agency. And this is our right, as we have already pointed out," he said.

Iranian President Mahmound Ahmadinejad has set a goal of producing about 250-300 metric tons of nuclear fuel annually.

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