Irans nuclear chief,reversing the countrys previous statements,has said the country would not halt its production of higher-grade uranium,suggesting that the Iranian government was veering back to a much harder line after talks in Baghdad with the West last week ended badly.
Fereydoon Abbasi said there would be no suspension of enrichment by Iran,the central requirement of several UN Security Council resolutions. He specifically said that applied to uranium being enriched to 20 percent purity a steppingstone that puts it in fairly easy reach of producing weapons grade uranium.
We have no reason to retreat from producing the 20 percent,because we need 20 percent uranium just as much to meet our needs, Abbasi told Iranian state television.
Abbasis statement will be of particular concern to the US and Israel because Iran is producing more of its 20 percent enriched uranium in a deep underground site called called Fordow that is considered highly resistant to bombing. Getting Iran to halt its 20 percent enrichment,and dismantle the Fordow plant,has been described by US officials as their top priority.
Abbasis remarks,which included an announcement that Iran would start building two nuclear power plants in 2013,are bound to complicate the already difficult nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers,which are to be continued in Moscow on June 18.
If the talks fail,the powers are planning to tighten sanctions on Iranian exports and financial dealings as early as July 1,including placing an embargo on all sales of Iranian oil to Europe.