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Asia-pacific

Defiant Tehran designing 'more powerful' nuclear reactor

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-16

Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Wednesday that Iran is currently designing a new nuclear reactor "more powerful" than its existing Tehran research facility, and that the country will adopt a "dual-track" policy in international affairs.

AFP - Iran is designing a new nuclear reactor for radio-isotope production that is "more powerful" than its existing Tehran research facility, atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday.
   
Salehi said Tehran will also adopt a "dual-track" policy in dealing with the world powers which imposed new sanctions on Tehran even as they offered to talk with the Islamic republic over its nuclear programme.
   
"Iran is designing a reactor to produce radio isotopes which will be more powerful than the Tehran reactor and this reactor will be commissioned soon in the country," Salehi was quoted as saying on state television's website.
   

Salehi, who implements Iran's nuclear programme which Western powers suspect masks an atomic weapons drive, said Tehran wanted to commission several such reactors across the country.
   
"Our plan is to commission several reactors in the north, south, east and the west of the country so that we can produce radio isotopes for sale and export to the regional and Islamic countries that need them," Salehi said.
   
Since October last year, the Tehran research facility has been embroiled in Iran's confrontation with the West over the issue of supplying it with uranium fuel.
   
Iran and the world powers have been unable to arrive at a decision over how to provide the 20-percent enriched uranium that is required to power the facility.
   
Salehi's announcement on Wednesday is yet another defiant step by Iran which started purifying uranium to that level on its own despite outrage by the world powers which slapped on the sanctions last week.
   
The UN Security Council resolution passed on June 9 specifies that Iran must abandon the enrichment drive. Tehran says the sensitive work has no military aims.
   
Salehi said that Iran too will adopt a "dual-track" policy to deal with the world powers that have been implementing such a strategy against Tehran.
   
"Our dual-track policy is to have dialogue based on honesty as a first step and, as a second step, to push ahead with our nuclear programme in order to confront the pressure from enemies."
   
World powers have been advocating what they say is the "carrot-and-stick" policy -- applying pressure through sanctions and urging for dialogue -- to make Iran halt its enrichment programme.
   
Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticised this Western policy on Wednesday, saying Tehran would now be the one setting the conditions for future talks.
   
"You played foul and broke your promise," he said in a speech in the central Iranian city of Shahrekord which was broadcast live on state television.
   
"We will set conditions to discipline you so that you will come and sit down to talks like a good kid. Bear in mind that when you raise a stick the Iranian people's fist will smash all your sticks," he said, adding if Iranian rights are infringed "our nation also has the right to retaliate."
   
Separately, in a fiery session of parliament on Wednesday, speaker Ali Larijani called on Iran's government to push ahead with its programme to enrich uranium to 20 percent.
   
"The bullying countries must understand that their illogical pressure will be proportionately reciprocated by the level of our uranium enrichment which would depend on our needs," he said in the parliament amid chants of "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest), the assembly website said.
   
Larijani also dismissed the new sanctions and warned the United States and other countries that if they searched Iranian ships and planes -- as the new UN measures specify -- Tehran would reciprocate accordingly in the Gulf waters.
   
"This retaliation is part of defending our national interests," he said as lawmakers shouted "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!".
   
Around 40 percent of world oil supplies pass through the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
   
The UN sanctions authorise states to conduct high-sea inspections of vessels believed to be ferrying banned items to or from Iran.
   
They also provide for cargo inspections, both in any port or at sea, if there is reason to suspect a ship is carrying conventional arms or nuclear missile items for Iran.
 

Date created : 2010-06-16

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