UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN chief urges Iran to desist from vow to enrich more uranium to 20 per cent

28 May 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Iran to end its continued enrichment of uranium to 20 per cent purity so as to build mutual trust over its nuclear programme which it says is for purely peaceful energy production but which many countries see as an effort to obtain atomic weapons.

Mr. Ban noted at a news conference on his arrival in Brazil yesterday that Iran had vowed to continue this enrichment process even after it agreed in an initiative brokered by the leaders of Brazil and Turkey to ship low-enriched uranium out of the country in exchange for high-enriched uranium for use at a civilian nuclear research site.

“I have been repeatedly urging to the Iranian authorities that they have to clear their nuclear programme, that it is exclusively for peaceful purposes, and it is not meant for military purposes, and they should fully comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions,” said the Secretary-General, who travelled to Rio de Janeiro to attend an Alliance of Civilizations forum.

“If and when the Iranian authorities make it quite clear that they will fully cooperate with the IAEA (UN International Atomic Energy Agency) and clear any concerns raised by their statement that they will continue 20 per cent of uranium enrichment process, then if they would declare that they would cease this process, I think that would be helpful promoting mutual trust and confidence, particularly on the part of the Iranians.”

In 2003 it was discovered that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The IAEA has repeatedly stated that it cannot confirm that all Iran's nuclear material is for peaceful activities because the country has not cooperated fully with international efforts to verify that its nuclear programme was indeed meant for civilian purposes.

“At the heart of this crisis, [there] seems to be a serious lack of confidence and trust on Iran,” Mr. Ban said.

Low refined uranium can be used for civilian energy reactors but when purified to a much higher degree it can also be used in making nuclear weapons.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list