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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian, Iranian diplomats discuss Tehran's uranium enrichment

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russian and Iranian diplomats discussed on Thursday the situation around Tehran's nuclear program on the back of an announcement made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier in the day that Iran had produced its first stock of 20%-enriched uranium.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Seyyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi met to discuss "the situation around the Iranian nuclear program that has evolved after Tehran decided to enrich its stocks of low-enriched uranium (LOW) to 19.75% purity."

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.

Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, has said Iran would use 20%-enriched uranium to produce nuclear fuel solely for domestic purposes.

Salehi said Iran was capable of producing up to 5 kg of nuclear fuel monthly, while the Tehran research reactor needs only 1.5 kg fuel each month.

Western powers suspect Iran of aiming to build a nuclear weapon. The Islamic Republic has consistently said its program is designed toward the peaceful generation of power.

In a sign that Moscow, a traditional Iranian ally, is moving closer and closer to the position of Western nations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it was "disappointed" by Iran's decision to enrich uranium to 20%.

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