AFP: The European Union expressed concern here Wednesday over Iran’s plans to triple its capacity to purify uranium, in defiance of multiple UN sanctions.
VIENNA, June 8, 2011 (AFP) – The European Union expressed concern here Wednesday over Iran’s plans to triple its capacity to purify uranium, in defiance of multiple UN sanctions.
In a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-board of governors, the current EU president Hungary said the 27-nation bloc “notes with particular concern” Iran’s announcement which would “further exacerbate” Tehran’s defiance of the UN Security Council.
Iran’s nuclear chief Fereydoun Abbasi Davani had announced earlier that the Islamic republic “will transfer the 20 percent enrichment from Natanz to the Fordo site this year, under the supervision of the (IAEA).
“We will also triple the (production) capacity. The 20 percent enrichment will not be stopped at Natanz until the production level is three times higher than its current rate,” Abbasi said.
The UN Security Council in New York has repeatedly ordered Tehran to halt all uranium enrichment until the IAEA had verified the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.
Uranium enrichment is the most sensitive part of the programme because it can be used to produce both the fuel for a nuclear reactor and the fissile material for an atomic warhead.
The West accuses Tehran of seeking to build a bomb under the guise of a civilian power programme, a charge which Iran strongly denies.
In the IAEA’s latest report on its long-running investigation into Iran’s nuclear programme, the UN atomic watchdog complained about Tehran’s refusal to cooperate, particularly with regard to allegations of weaponisation work.
In its statement to the closed session of the IAEA board, the EU “notes with grave concern the continued absence of progress in Iran’s cooperation with IAEA.”