Iran's new nuclear plans forced measure - defense minister
TEHRAN, December 9 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment facilities are a forced measure as the UN nuclear watchdog is not fulfilling its obligations, the Iranian defense minister said on Wednesday.
"Given the fact that the [International Atomic Energy] Agency has not fulfilled its obligations and the West is not honest in its talks and rather pursues other objectives, the [domestic] supply of fuel and construction of [uranium] enrichment centers have now turned into an obligation of vital importance," the news agency Fars quoted Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi as saying.
Vahidi blasted the recent IAEA resolution against Iran over the construction of the Fordo enrichment plant, located outside Tehran, saying the resolution was issued under pressure exerted by the U.S. and the West on the UN nuclear watchdog and was aimed at complicating Iran's ongoing negotiations and cooperation with the agency.
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 IAEA in November 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.
"If the agency does not fulfill its undertaking regarding the supply of nuclear fuel to the Tehran research reactor, Iran will use its technology to enrich [the needed fuel]," the Iranian defense minister was quoted by Fars as saying.
Iranian President Mahmound Ahmadinejad has set a goal of producing about 250-300 metric tons of nuclear fuel annually.
Iran currently enriches uranium to the level of 5% consistent with the nuclear fuel supply needed for power plant reactors. Weapons-grade uranium requires enriching the radioactive element to 90% and more, Fars said.
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