June 9, 2011
Iran to triple uranium enrichment
Iran will triple its uranium enrichment capacity and expand its production of higher-level enriched uranium, its nuclear chief announced.
The Iranian official said he informed the International Atomic Energy Agency Wednesday that the Islamic Republic would transfer its enrichment process from the Natanz nuclear plant to the Fordo site, built deep inside a mountain near the holy city of Oom, according to the Fars News Agency.
The hidden nuclear site was discovered in 2009 and led to increased United Nations sanctions against Iran.
On Wednesday, Tehran also announced it would triple its production of 20 percent enriched uranium. While Iranian officials say that the fuel will be used to power a medical research reactor, the high level enriched uranium can also be used to arm a nuclear bomb.
The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereidoon Abbasi, told reporters in Tehran that the IAEA would supervise the transfer of the enrichment process to Fordo.
On Monday, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, the said the agency “had received further information related to possible past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities that seem to point to the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program,” according to the New York Times.
During an IAEA meeting Thursday in Vienna, U.S. ambassador to the agency, Glyn Davies, called the announcement “the most recent brazen example of (Iran’s) deepening non-compliance” with its international nuclear obligations under the agency.