Iran: No Technical Problems in N. Program

A03075062.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran denied Friday that it faced any “technical problems” in expanding its nuclear program.

“There are no technical problems regarding the development of centrifuges,” deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Saeedi told the Islamic republic news agency.

On Tuesday Iran announced it had started to install 6000 of new centrifuges to enrich uranium at its main nuclear plant in Natanz.

But western diplomats said Iran has experienced difficulties in utilizing its existing centrifuges to full capacity.

Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, has said it was “natural in this kind of industry that there are ups and downs once in a while.”

Uranium enrichment lies at the core of the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.

As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has a right to enrichment to make nuclear fuel to meet growing energy needs of its population and vehemently denies allegations of seeking a bomb.

The UN Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions against Iran to make it give up its right of uranium enrichment.

But Tehran has rejected the UN Security Council resolutions as “political and illegal” and vowed to press on with its nuclear program in the face of pressure.

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 Darkhovin 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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