Iran determined to expand uranium enrichment programme — Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN (AP) — Iran’s president said his country was determined to expand its uranium enrichment programme, announcing a plan to produce more nuclear fuel and calling allegations that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons a “big lie.” Speaking to professors at Tehran University on Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reinforced his rejection of demands by the US and its allies to stop enrichment, saying his country was committed to generating nuclear fuel for electricity.

“Allegations or charges by the United States that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons is a big lie,” Ahmadinejad said during his speech, which was broadcast on state-run television.

The process of uranium enrichment can be used to produce electricity or build nuclear weapons depending on the level of enrichment. The US alleges Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons, but Iran contends that its programme is for peaceful purposes.

Ahmadinejad said in his speech that Iran will hopefully install up to 100,000 centrifuges, which spin uranium gas into enriched material in order to produce nuclear fuel. He did not provide any more details or set a timeline, but installing so many centrifuges could take several years.

In February, Iran announced for the first time that it produced a batch of low-enriched uranium, using 164 centrifuges.

It also has said it plans to intall 3,000 centrifuges by the end of the year at its uranium enrichment plant in the central Iranian town of Natanz. Large-scale production of enriched uranium in Natanz would require 54,000 centrifuges.

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