|Iran will not relinquish its right to 20% enrichment: cleric||
TEHRAN – The leader of this week’s Friday prayers in Tehran said that the Islamic Republic will not give up its right to produce uranium enriched to a purity level of 20 percent.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami made the remarks in a sermon during Friday prayers at the campus of the University of Tehran, one day after the end of the talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) in Baghdad, in which the two sides agreed to meet again in Moscow on June 18 and 19 to help resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.
“The other side in this round of talks demanded that we halt 20 percent uranium enrichment. This is what the Europeans promised three years ago to supply us with enriched uranium that we needed to save the lives of one million patients, but they did not do so and reneged on their promise,” he stated.
“Now that Iran has acquired the ability to produce 20 percent enriched uranium with reliance on national scientists, it will not retreat,” he added.
The cleric also said, “How much should Iran build confidence? Despite their frequent inspections, they have not been able to find any diversion in Iran’s nuclear program. Even the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution stated that Iran is not in pursuit of nuclear weapons and declared that the use of them is haram (prohibited in Islam).
“Addressing the Westerners, we say that now it is your turn to build confidence and prove that you are not lackeys of the global arrogance (forces of imperialism).”
Iran officially requested the International Atomic Energy Agency on June 2, 2009 to supply nuclear fuel for the Tehran research reactor, which produces radioisotopes for cancer treatment. Later, Iran put forward a proposal for a simultaneous exchange of fuel in two stages on its soil, but Tehran did not receive any proper response to its proposal.
On the sidelines of the Group of 15 summit, which was held in Tehran on May 17, 2010, Iran, Turkey, and Brazil issued a declaration, according to which Iran was to ship 1200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for 120 kilograms of 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel to power the Tehran reactor.
But the United States and its allies rejected the deal, which Iran had offered as a goodwill gesture, and imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran in June 2010.
In response, Iran decided to produce 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel and convert it into plate type nuclear fuel and constructed an advanced plant at the Isfahan nuclear facility for manufacturing nuclear fuel plates.
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