Tags: EU | Iran | Nuclear

Diplomats: Iran Expands Enrichment Facility

Friday, 14 May 2010 07:24 AM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Iran has set up new equipment that will allow it to boost its efficiency at enriching uranium at higher levels, diplomats said Friday. The move is likely to give the U.S. more leverage with Russia and China in its push for new U.N. sanctions on Tehran.

Iran's clandestine enrichment activities were discovered eight years ago and have expanded since to encompass thousands of centrifuges churning out material enriched to 3.5 percent. But despite three sets of Security Council sanctions meant to enforce demands of a freeze, Tehran moved to a new level in February, when it set up a small program to produce material enriched to near 20 percent.

Tehran denies any interest in developing nuclear arms and says it needs the higher enriched uranium to supply its research reactor with fuel after a U.N.-supported deal to provide the material from abroad fell apart. But the move has increased concerns because it brings the Islamic Republic closer to the ability to produce warhead material.

Uranium at 3.5 percent, can be used to fuel reactors — which is Iran's avowed purpose for enrichment. If enriched to around 95 percent, however, it can be used in building a nuclear bomb, and at 20 percent, uranium can be turned into weapons-grade material much more quickly than from lower levels.

The 20-percent uranium is being produced by a "cascade" — 164 centrifuges hooked up in series. The diplomats said that Iranian technicians had in recent weeks assembled another 164-centrifuge cascade and the throw of a switch appeared ready to activate it to support the machines already turning out small amounts of near 20-percent uranium.

One of the diplomats, from a member country of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the new cascade is meant to reprocess the waste produced by the equipment now in operation and produce more enriched material from it.

An IAEA-backed plan that offered nuclear fuel rods for Tehran's research reactor in exchange for most of Iran's stock of lower-level enriched uranium initially raised Western hopes that it could temporarily curb Iran's capacity to make a nuclear bomb.

But it hit a dead end last year after Iran rejected it, though the country's leaders have since tried to keep the offer on the table, proposing variations without accepting the original terms. As the standoff continues, Russia and China — two veto-wielding Security Council members normally against sanctions — are signaling increased willingness to support a new round of U.N. penalties meant to punish the Iranian government for its nuclear defiance.

At U.N. headquarters on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said that talks on a U.S.-drafted sanctions resolution are making "good progress."

Diplomats familiar with the negotiations said a draft resolution could be circulated to all Security Council nations — permanent members the U.S., Britain, China, France and Russia and 10 elected countries — before the end of the month.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Experts: Putin Abandons Economy for Own 'Geopolitical Goals'

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 15:15 PM

The continuing collapse of the Russian economy may bring a sense of pleasure to critics, but it remains unclear what imp . . .

WSJ Poll: 57% of Hispanics Now Happy With Obama

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 14:28 PM

President Obama's popularity in the Latino community is bouncing back after his executive order on immigration, with mor . . .

WaPo: Don't Assume Bush Will Win GOP Nomination

Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 14:13 PM

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be a strong contender for the GOP nomination in a party that has a history of choosing . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved