Feb 15, 2012 2 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad loaded nuclear fuel rods into the Tehran Research Reactor on Wednesday, state TV reported.
“The president loaded 20 percent enriched rods into the Tehran Reactor… it is a sign of Iranian scientists’ achievements,” said state TV, which broadcast the ceremony live.
The country is also set to unveil a new generation of its domestically made uranium enrichment centrifuges. “The fourth generation of domestically made centrifuges have higher speed and production capacity… it will be unveiled on Wednesday,” state TV said.
The moves appeared designed to show that increased sanctions are failing to halt Iran’s technical progress and to strengthen its hand in any renewed negotiations with the major powers.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday inaugurated three new nuclear projects, in a ceremony that was broadcast live on state television network IRIB.
“This is another huge step in Iran’s nuclear technology and this path should be decisively continued, and all the shouting, threats and intimidations by the West should be ignored,” Ahmadinejad said at the ceremony.
The president then opened, via a video conference link, two other projects in the Natanz plant in central Iran.
That plant will now be able to enrich uranium to 20 percent and will also use a new type of centrifuge, capable of three times higher enrichment speeds than previous models.
Ahmadinejad said the new nuclear achievements were gained despite the fierce opposition by the West to technological progress in Iran. “The West wants … to dictate their will and expects us to blindly sign what they want, but this will never happen,” he said.
He cited as another achievement the increase of the number of centrifuges in the Natanz plant from 6,000 to 9,000.
Iran initially wanted the fuel for the Tehran reactor from abroad, and although the aim was to cure diseases such as cancer, the fuel was not provided, Ahmadinejad said.
“The Western rejection forced us to make both the 20-percent enrichment and the fuel rods by themselves, which we succeeded to do in less than two years,” he said.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran proclaimed advances in nuclear know-how on Wednesday, including new centrifuges able to enrich uranium much faster, a move that may hasten a drift towards confrontation with the West over suspicions it is seeking the means to make atomic bombs.
Tehran was driving home its resolve to pursue a nuclear program its hardline Islamic clerical leaders see as a pillar of power, protection and prestige despite Western sanctions that are inflicting increasing damage on its oil-based economy.
Iran also aimed to show that the tightening sanctions noose has failed to stop it making progress in nuclear technology and to firm its hand in any renewed negotiations with world powers.
“The era of bullying nations has past. The arrogant powers cannot monopolize nuclear technology. They tried to prevent us by issuing sanctions and resolutions but failed,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a live television broadcast.
“Our nuclear path will continue.”
In an obvious bluff, Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam television said the government had handed a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressing readiness to “hold new talks over its nuclear program in a constructive way.”
An Ashton spokeswoman confirmed receipt of the letter, saying she was evaluating it and would consult with the United States, Russia, China and other partners among the big powers.