Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Iran Confirms It Converted Uranium

Iran confirms the conversion last year of 37 tons of raw uranium into gas that would be needed to enrich uranium. Tehran says the conversion occurred just before Iran suspended all activities related to uranium enrichment. A top nuclear official says Iran conducted the work at one of its nuclear facilities in central Iran. The United States alleges that site is part of a program to produce atomic weapons. Iran denies such claims. Uranium enriched to low levels can be used as nuclear reactor fuel to generate electricity. Further enrichment makes it suitable for a nuclear bomb.
Iran will resume some sensitive nuclear activities 'in the next few days', a negotiator with the EU over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear programme told AFP. 'We will relaunch in the next few days uranium conversion installations at Isfahan,' said Mohammad Saidi. 'It concerns activities that we suspended,' Saidi said when asked which activities would be resumed. The plant at Isfahan is used to convert uranium, prior to it being enriched. Enriched uranium can be used for peaceful power generation but also as the explosive core of a nuclear bomb. Iran agreed in November last year to suspend its fuel cycle work -- the focus of international fears the country may be seeking the bomb -- and open talks with the UK, France and Germany. But Tehran has repeatedly said that it would resume parts of the uranium enrichment cycle if talks failed. 'If the Europeans don't take our proposals into account, we will resume our activities,' said Saidi, without specifying which.