Iran Nuclear NewsIran official says no plans to halt atomic work

Iran official says no plans to halt atomic work

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Reuters: Iran will not suspend its uranium enrichment work as demanded by a U.N. sanctions resolution, the country’s top nuclear official said on Sunday in the latest statement of defiance from Tehran as a U.N. deadline looms. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran will not suspend its uranium enrichment work as demanded by a U.N. sanctions resolution, the country’s top nuclear official said on Sunday in the latest statement of defiance from Tehran as a U.N. deadline looms.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on Dec. 23 imposing limited sanctions on Iran after it refused to suspend atomic work, which Western powers fear will be used to produce nuclear bombs.

It gave Iran 60 days to halt enrichment, a process that can be used to make fuel for nuclear power stations, which Iran insists is its aim, or material for warheads.

“We believe that the resolution has serious legal and executive problems. We have said from the beginning that Iran will not implement it,” Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

Other Iranian officials have also ruled out suspension.

Asked about Iran’s stated plans to expand enrichment capacity at its Natanz enrichment site by installing 3,000 more atomic centrifuges, Aghazadeh said: “Be patient, It will not take long. We will inform you about this issue.”

Iran already operates two experimental cascades of 164 centrifuges, which spin at supersonic speeds to purify uranium. Highly enriched uranium can be used for nuclear warheads.

Washington has said it would be a “miscalculation” if Iran believed it could install the centrifuges and still avoid another U.N. resolution or further pressure.

Iran has not said when it will announce work on installing the 3,000 additional centrifuges, but some analysts say it could do so during events to mark the 1979 Islamic revolution that run to Feb. 11.

“Soon we will announce good nuclear news,” Aghazadeh said, without giving further details.

Iranian media have repeatedly quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying that Feb. 11 will be a day to “prove the Iranian nation’s obvious right” to nuclear technology.

Washington has said it wants diplomacy to end the nuclear standoff with the Islamic state but has not ruled out military action if that fails.

Visiting envoys from the Non-Aligned Movement of developing nations on Saturday toured the Isfahan facility, where uranium ore is converted into feedstock uranium hexafluoride gas. Iran said the trip showed openness about its atomic programme.

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