Iran to Disclose New N. Achievements on Tuesday

A02329171.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to disclose new achievements in the country’s nuclear program on Tuesday.The foreign press is invited Tuesday to attend the “National Day of Nuclear Achievement” which marks the first anniversary of Iran having achieved uranium enrichment on an industrial level.

The spokesman did not give any details and left it to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to reveal the new achievements on Tuesday evening in Tehran.

It is widely expected that Ahmadinejad will announce the installation and operation of more centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear plant in central Iran. The new centrifuges could be of the P2 kind which have a higher enrichment speed than the previously used P1 centrifuges.

Iran reportedly has 3,000 centrifuges but needs at least 50,000 to provide the necessary fuel for its nuclear power plants in the future.

Hosseini once again rejected the main Western demand which is suspension of uranium enrichment and said that even Western incentives would not change the Iranian position.

He called on the West to instead respect the rights of other nations, including Iran, to pursue civil nuclear technology in line with regulations within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The spokesman said that there have been no new contacts between European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, adding that any new talks should primarily be based on acknowledging Iran’s nuclear rights.
The last meeting between Solana and Jalili was held in November in London but ended without any tangible results.

Following the third United Nations Security Council resolution against Iran last March, President Ahmadinejad ordered a stop to nuclear negotiations with the EU.

While Iran insists that its nuclear programs are peaceful, the Western world accuses Iran of working on a secret military program. The US-led West has never presented any corroborative document or evidence to substantiate its allegations against the Islamic Republic.

Tehran has always categorically denied the charges and has referred to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the only authorized body to judge in the dispute.

The US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran’s independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in February – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seemed to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East in winter has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

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