Iran claims nuke advance ahead of talks

Updated: 2010-12-06 07:35


Twitter Facebook Myspace Yahoo! Linkedin Mixx

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran claimed a milestone on the eve of talks in Geneva with six world powers, saying Sunday it has produced its first batch of locally mined uranium ore for enrichment, making it independent of foreign countries for a process the West fears is geared toward producing nuclear arms.

Related readings:
Iran claims nuke advance ahead of talks Iran reports nuclear advance before Geneva talks
Iran claims nuke advance ahead of talks Chinese FM, EU foreign policy chief discuss Iran nuke issue
Iran claims nuke advance ahead of talks Iran shuts offices due to high air pollution
Iran claims nuke advance ahead of talks Iran's military looks to the sky as new priority

Western officials downplayed the announcement, saying it had been expected and that Iran did not have enough ore to maintain the large-scale enrichment program that Tehran says it is building as a source of fuel for an envisaged network of nuclear reactors.

"Given that Iran's own supply of uranium is not enough for a peaceful nuclear energy program, this calls into further question Iran's intentions and raises additional concerns at a time when Iran needs to address the concerns of the international community," said Mike Hammer, spokesman of the US National Security Council.

A senior diplomat familiar with the issue from a member nation of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iranian claims of domestic reserves were thought to be exaggerated. The diplomat, who is familiar with the issue, asked for anonymity because his information was confidential.

Whatever its long-term purpose, the immediate effect of the announcement was clear; a message to the six world powers ahead of their talks with Iran beginning Monday in Geneva that uranium enrichment was not up for discussion, with Tehran determined to expand the program instead of scrapping it as the UN Security Council demands.

Expectations were low ahead of the negotiations even before Sunday's announcement from Tehran, with Iran saying it is prepared to discuss nuclear issues only in the context of global disarmament and officials from some of the six powers saying they would be pleased if they yielded no more than agreement to meet at a later date to explore common themes.

Still the ultimate aim of the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany is to commit Tehran to give up enrichment because of its potential use in making nuclear arms.

The talks in Geneva - the first in over a year - are meant to lay the cornerstone for establishing trust. Tehran says it does not want atomic arms, but as it builds on its capacity to potentially make such weapons, neither Israel nor the US have ruled out military action if the Islamic Republic fails to heed UN Security Council demands to freeze enrichment and other nuclear programs.

Over two planned days, Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, will meet with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, with Ashton's office saying she will act "on behalf" of the US, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany. In fact, senior officials for those six powers will attend and do much of the talking with Tehran.

   Previous Page 1 2 Next Page  

Paper's Digest

Xi'an – more than just clay soldiers

There is more to the ancient capital of Xi'an than just clay soldiers.

Preview of the coming issue
Showing face: Looks can kill
China fueling European recovery

European Edition


The naked truth about nude art

A growing number of Chinese people are now choosing to go nude for posterity, particularly young women and new brides.

"China lover"

Lord Mandelson says he has been called a "China lover" as a term of abuse back in Europe.

Firms unfazed by new taxes

Foreign investments into China are not expected to be adversely affected by the cancellation of some of the country's preferential tax policies.

Thrills - and some spills
Chinese jet takes on Big 2
Gaining ground