Iran will never shut down its Fordow uranium enrichment plant, a senior
legislator was quoted as saying on Sunday, brushing off a key demand from the
The Islamic republic started building the plant inside a
mountain in secret as early as 2006, to protect it from air
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s weekly
cabinet meeting that the Iranian issue would be one of the central issues during
his talks in Jerusalem next month with US President Barack
Unfortunately, Netanyahu said, Iran’s nuclear progress is
continuing, “and Iran has recently sped up its nuclear activities. It is
enriching uranium at a high level, and has installed new centrifuges to shorten
the time it will take to reach and cross that line that I indicated in my UN
He has said that the world powers, in their talks with Iran,
must demand the closure of the plant.
Last week, Reuters reported world
powers were planning to offer to ease sanctions barring trade in gold and other
precious metals with Iran in return for steps to shut down Fordow.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of parliament’s national security and foreign policy
committee, referred to the reported offer on Sunday and dismissed any idea of a
closure, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported.
“Fordow will never
be shut down because... our national duty is to be able to defend our nuclear
and vital canters against an enemy threat,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying by
“This suggestion (shutting down Fordow) is meant to help the
Zionist regime,” he added.
The United States and its allies are
particularly worried about Fordow because Iran is refining uranium there to a
fissile concentration of 20 percent, which Iran says it needs for a medical
reactor. Twenty percent purity is only a short technical step from weapons-grade
Western officials said last week the offer to ease sanctions
barring gold and other precious metals trade with Iran would be presented at
February 26 talks between Iran and world powers in Almaty,
They acknowledged it represented a relatively modest update
to proposals that the six major powers put forward last year.
parliament has little control over the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy, which
is decided by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.