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'No reason' to cede on 20pc enriched uranium: Iran

28 May, 2012

TEHRAN: Tehran has 'no reason' to suspend its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent - one of the key demands of world powers engaging Iran in talks - the head of its Atomic Energy Organisation said.

"We have no reason to cede on 20 percent, because we produce only as much of the 20 percent fuel as we need. No more, no less," Fereydoon Abbasi Davani was quoted as saying late Saturday by the ISNA and Mehr news agencies.

The issue of Iran's enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, and its stockpile of that uranium, were at the centre of talks on Wednesday and Thursday in Baghdad between Iran and six world powers (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany).

With that impasse, which Abbasi Davani termed "predictable," the talks teetered on failure and were saved only by last-minute wrangling that agreed to give negotiations another shot in Moscow on June 18-19.

Abbasi Davani was quoted as saying that Iran had now joined the small group of countries "that can produce fuel for others." He added: "It is better that others engage us about providing (them) with fuel, not that they (the West) demand we shut down our fuel production."

Meanwhile, the UN nuclear watchdog has not yet given good enough reasons to visit an Iranian site where it suspects there may have been experiments for developing nuclear weapons, Iranian media said.

The Parchin complex is at the centre of Western suspicions that Iran is developing atom bombs despite Tehran's repeated denials of any such ambition. Iranian officials have refused access to the complex, southeast of Tehran, saying it is a military site.

"The reasons and document have still not been presented by the agency to convince us to give permission for this visit," the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency on Saturday.

Moreover, Iran is to build a new nuclear power plant, alongside its sole existing one in the southern city of Bushehr, by early 2014, state television reported on Sunday, quoting the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organisation.

"Iran will build a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr next year," the television quoted Fereydoon Abbasi Davani as saying. He was referring to the Iranian calendar year running from March 2013 to March 2014.

The Mehr news agency suggested the timeline could be longer, quoting Abbasi Davani as saying: "We will begin plans for a 1,000-megawatt plant in Bushehr next year." He said foreign contractors would be needed for its construction. The Mehr and ISNA news agencies both reported another nuclear plant was also planned and could be built in coming years.

ISNA quoted Abbasi Davani as saying that designs for a 360-megawatt facility in Darkhovin, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan near the border with Iraq, "have been finished and we are reviewing it." He did not elaborate. Darkhovin, a project initiated by France but abandoned after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, has been stalled because of European sanctions against Tehran.

End.

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