Iran ready to step up nuclear production

2012-02-19 22:22

London - Iran was on Sunday reported to be poised to step up uranium enrichment, ahead of the arrival of United Nations nuclear inspectors in Tehran too seek clarity on the nature of its nuclear programme.

The BBC, quoting an unnamed diplomat in Vienna - where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)is based - reported that the country, which is suspected of building a nuclear weapon, was poised to install thousands of new generation centrifuges.

The centrifuges, which are needed for the process of uranium enrichment, were destined for the fortified Fordo plant near the city of Qom, the BBC said.

According to the broadcaster, other diplomats requesting anonymity had previously said the facility was already fitted with the electrical circuitry, piping and equipment required for the centrifuges.

Tehran, itself has said it plans to use a new type of centrifuge capable of a far higher enrichment speed than previous models at Fordo, which has been constructed for at least 3 000 centrifuges but not yet officially inaugurated.

Western powers are concerned that Iran is building a nuclear weapon.

Iran denies its nuclear programme is directed at creating nuclear bombs, but has confirmed its plans to upgrade uranium enrichment to the 20% level at its Natanz site in central Iran.

The BBC report comes ahead of the arrival in Tehran on Monday of a high-ranking inspection team from the IAEA, which is seeking a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague in an interview on Sunday warned that Iran acquiring nuclear weapons would plunge the Middle East into "a new Cold War." He told the Daily Telegraph newspaper other nations in the region would want to develop nuclear weapons if Iran did.

This would be "a disaster in world affairs" and lack the "the safety mechanisms" that prevented the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union escalating into a real war.

But at a news conference in Tehran, Iran's Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi rejected Hague's remarks.

"This is only an effort [by Britain] to create an anti-Iran atmosphere in the media. This is part of their political agenda. We will however continue our course and use of peaceful nuclear technology without any doubt and with self-confidence.

"At the same time, we are also prepared for the worst scenario," he said.

  • Fred - 2012-02-20 05:09

    Yes, but it hasn't taken that step from power-production to military function. The freer world knows this, and is keeping a watchful eye. The freer world has drawn a clear line win the sand: allowing a rogue terrorist regime to have a military nuclear capability is a no-no.

      Martino - 2012-02-20 11:07

      Patrick, did you know that Iran funds Hamas and Hezbollah, which are terrorist organisations? So yes, a terrorist regime indeed!

  • nowicki1 - 2012-02-20 08:55

    They have every right to have a weapon. Terrorist? Who have they terrorized? The "freer world"? Look at all of Israel's weopons and look at all the threats Iran is recieving of course they gonna speed up production. The sanctions against them are an act of economic warfare as 60 percent of irans revenue comes from oil. Fred you are delusional, demonizing a large country filled with good people while claiming to care about freedom and democracy. Lay off Fox news for a while ok?

      cameronrh1 - 2012-02-20 09:53

      The difference between Israel and Iran, Israel who has nuclear weapons (although they wont confirm this) has not once threatened to wipe any Arab Middle Eastern country off the map, whereas Iran has stated on countless occasions to wipe Israel off the map...

      Fred - 2012-02-20 17:58

      This is consistent with your upside-down, uninformed stance on just about everything. The irony is that you promote freedom of information.

      Ax - 2012-02-20 18:41

      whole issue is related to land, and illegal settlements, even successive US presidents have stated exactly those facts in public, before vetoing any resolution in the background that might put a stop to the illegal settlements OFFICIAL US POLICY ON ISRAEL AND PALESTINE: "Our position on the settlements is very clear. We do not think they are legal, and they are obviously an impediment to peace." -- President Jimmy Carter, April 12, 1980 Total settlement population: 61,500 "The immediate adoption of a settlements freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks. Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel." -- President Ronald Reagan, Sept. 1, 1982 Total settlement population (1983): 106,595

      Ax - 2012-02-20 18:41

      "My position is that the foreign policy of the United States says we do not believe there should be new settlements in the West Bank or in East Jerusalem. And I will conduct that policy as if it's firm, which it is." -- President George H.W. Bush, March 3, 1990 Total settlement population: 227,500 "The Israeli people also must understand that . . . the settlement enterprise and building bypass roads in the heart of what they already know will one day be part of a Palestinian state is inconsistent with the Oslo commitment that both sides negotiate a compromise." -- President Bill Clinton, Jan. 7, 2001 Total settlement population: 387,859 "Israeli settlement activity in occupied territories must stop, and the occupation must end through withdrawal to secure and recognized boundaries, consistent with United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338." -- President George W. Bush, April 4, 2002 Total settlement population: 414,119 "Settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward." -- President Obama, May 18 Total settlement population (2008): 479,500

      Fred - 2012-02-20 18:55

      What on earth are you talking about Ax? This article is about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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