Iran seemingly rejected one of the West's key demands in negotiations
over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program, with a senior
official saying Tehran has " no reason" to stop enriching uranium to 20
percent, AFP reported on Sunday.
“We have no reason to cede on
20 percent, because we produce only as much of the 20 percent fuel as we
need. No more, no less,” Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, the head of Iran's
Atomic Energy Organization was quoted as saying late Saturday.
uranium can be used to fuel power plants, which is Iran's stated aim,
or provide material for bombs, if refined much further, which the West
suspects may be Iran's ultimate goal.
During talks in Baghdad
this week, six world powers failed to convince Iran to scale back its
uranium enrichment program. They will meet again in Moscow next month to
try to defuse a decade-old standoff that has raised fears of a new war
in the Middle East that could disrupt oil supplies.
A report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a Vienna-based UN body, showed Iran pressing ahead
with its uranium enrichment work in defiance of UN resolutions calling
on it to suspend the activity. The report, released last week, also said
satellite images showed "extensive activities" at the Parchin complex,
at the center of Western suspicions that Iran is developing atom bombs.
Tehran denies any such plan.
Iranian officials have refused access to Parchin, southeast of Tehran, saying it is a military site.
reasons and document have still not been presented by the agency to
convince us to give permission for this visit," Abbasi-Davani was quoted
as saying by Fars news agency on Saturday.
Last November, an
IAEA report found that Iran had built a large containment vessel in 2000
at Parchin in which to conduct tests that the agency said were "strong
indicators of possible weapon development."
Iran's Abbasi-Davani accused unnamed countries of putting pressure on the IAEA to visit Parchin.
a visit to Tehran last week, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said he was close
to an agreement with Iran on inspection visits to nuclear facilities but
some differences remained.
The US-based Institute for Science
and International Security think tank has said there is concern Iran may
be trying to cleanse the building at Parchin to remove any evidence of
Meanwhile, Abbas-Davani was quoted by AFP as saying Iran plans to build an additional nuclear reactor next to its only existing reactor in the southern city of Bushehr.
"Iran will build a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr next year," Abbasi-Davani reportedly said.
Russia provides Iran with fuel for the Bushehr reactor. A new reactor would serve to boost electricity production in the Islamic Republic. The United States State Department has said it views the Bushehr plant as a civilian-energy program without a military dimension.