Iran produces first stock of enriched uranium
MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has produced its first stock of 20%-enriched uranium, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the Iranian Fars news agency on Thursday.
"I want to announce with a loud voice here that the first package of 20% fuel was produced and provided to scientists," Ahmadinejad said in a speech on state television.
"We have the capability to enrich uranium more than 20% or 80% but we don't enrich (to this level) because we don't need it," he added.
Iran's nuclear activities sparked a new wave of international criticism earlier this week, after the Islamic Republic announced its plans to enrich uranium to 20% purity. Western powers fear the program is aimed at building nuclear weapons, while Tehran insists it needs enriched uranium solely for domestic purposes.
Iran notified the UN nuclear watchdog of plans to produce higher enriched uranium on Monday, saying it could not wait any longer to reach an agreement on international processing of its uranium for its reactor in Tehran.
The move drew stinging criticism from U.S. President Barack Obama who said on Tuesday that Washington and its allies would begin developing "significant" new sanctions against Iran.
He also praised Russia's "forward-leaning" statements on the issue after Russia's security chief Nikolai Patrushev said Iran's actions meant that fears by Western powers over the nature of its nuclear program were "reasonable."
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