Iran Nuclear NewsIran to produce atomic fuel on industrial scale soon

Iran to produce atomic fuel on industrial scale soon

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Bloomberg: Iran will start producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale soon, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, in a new snub to the efforts of the U.S. and its allies to persuade the Islamic Republic to abandon its atomic program.
By Marc Wolfensberger

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) — Iran will start producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale soon, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, in a new snub to the efforts of the U.S. and its allies to persuade the Islamic Republic to abandon its atomic program.

Iran is determined to “achieve peaks of success and defend its interests powerfully,” the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as telling supporters in Khuzestan province today, in a reference to the nuclear project. The newswire didn’t elaborate on Ahmadinejad’s comments on industrial-scale production.

Iranian scientists in April 2006 successfully produced nuclear fuel on a laboratory scale, using two cascades each made up of 164 centrifuges. The country later announced plans to install an additional 3,000 centrifuges by March this year, paving the way for industrial-scale production in the face of opposition from the U.S. and European partners.

On Dec. 23 the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to impose sanctions on Iran over its atomic program, including a ban on acquisition of materials and technology that might be used to build nuclear weapons. It also froze the financial assets of named individuals and groups associated with the program and gave 60 days for Iran to halt uranium enrichment. The Iranian government says the project is intended to produce fuel for power stations.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear organization, in March 2006 referred Iran to the Security Council after three years of agency inspections failed to declare Iran’s atomic work peaceful. In November 2003, the UN agency criticized Iran for concealing parts of its program for 18 years.

‘Not Afraid’

The U.S. and its allies “should know that our nation is not afraid of them,” Ahmadinejad, pronounced ah-ma-deen-ah-ZHAD, told supporters. “They can neither make Iranians give up through threat, bullying, pressure and issuing of worthless resolutions, nor threatening them with sanctions.”

Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham yesterday told IRNA that “more transparent information” over the installation of the 3,000 centrifuges will be given during Feb. 1-10 celebrations that mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran is the second-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps 40 percent of the world’s oil. The country sits on one side of the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Nations including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait ship most of their crude exports through the waterway.

Ali Larijani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, will start a two-day visit to China tomorrow, during which he will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, IRNA reported separately. The talks will focus on “matters of bilateral concern,” IRNA said, without elaborating.

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