After a four-month suspension, Iran has acknowledged the
resumption of uranium enrichment.
Iranian officials said the resumption of uranium enrichment was part of
an effort to complete the nuclear fuel cycle. They said the International
Atomic Energy Agency has been informed of the move.
Iranian Atomic Energy Organization director-general Gholam Reza
Aghazadeh said the uranium enrichment would take place at a plant in
Isfahan. The installation has been termed a uranium conversion facility that
refines yellow cake for use in the production of enriched uranium, Middle East Newsline reported.
In October, Iran pledged to suspend uranium enrichment as part of an
agreement with the IAEA. But Teheran stressed that the suspension would be
temporary and uranium enrichment would be renewed in accordance with Iranian
"The experimental phase of the Isfahan processing installation has begun
and by the end of this phase, in the next 20 days, experimental production
at this facility will start," Aghazadeh, who is also Iran's vice president,
told Iranian state television. "The uranium processing plant in Isfahan will
produce all raw materials for the fuel cycle."
Officials said the Isfahan facility was not part of Iran's pledge to the
IAEA for the suspension of uranium enrichment. They said that in 2000
Isfahan was reported to the IAEA as a nuclear site.
"The voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment in Iran was a move to
build trust with the IAEA," Aghazadeh said, "and based on the order of the
Supreme National Security Council secretariat and the Iranian Atomic Energy
Organization to suspend activities in the field of building components and
Aghazadeh said the National Security Council has also ordered the
suspension of the construction of centrifuges. Iran has acknowledged that it
construct the advanced P-2 centrifuges.
IAEA director-general Mohamed El Baradei plans to visit Teheran on April
6 for talks on Iran's nuclear program. El Baradei has expressed concern that
Iran was not honoring its accord with the agency, which on Sunday inspected
the Natanz and Isfahan uranium enrichment facilities. The agency was
scheduled to report on Iran's commitments to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty during a board of governors meeting scheduled for June.