Nuclear Power plant 311 AP.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Defying the UN
Security Council, Iran activated a second centrifuge Monday to enrich
uranium more efficiently, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.
The new UN resolution seeks to crack down on the problem of evading
sanctions and established a group of experts to gather information and
analyze countries' efforts to implement them.
Vienna-based nuclear watchdog said Monday Iran has started using a
second set of 164 centrifuges linked in a cascade, or string of
machines, to enrich uranium to up to 20 percent at its Natanz pilot fuel
enrichment plant. Another cascade there has been producing uranium
enriched to near 20 percent since February.
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enriched to around 95 percent, uranium can be used in building a nuclear
bomb. At 20 percent, it can be turned into weapons-grade material much
more quickly than less-enriched uranium.
Tehran denies it has
such aims and says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes
only. But some in the international community — the United States and
its allies — aren't convinced.
IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said
that when agency inspectors visited the facility on July 17, "Iran was
feeding nuclear material to the two interconnected 164-machine
This, she added, was "contrary to UN
Security Council resolutions affirming that Iran should suspend all
enrichment related activities."
The UN Security Council imposed a
fourth round of sanctions on Iran in June because of its refusal to
halt uranium enrichment. Tougher unilateral US and European Union
sanctions followed in July.
Iran had informed the IAEA in March
of its intentions to link the two cascades, Tudor said.
upgrades the efficiency of production by recycling the waste now being
left by the first cascade to squeeze out more enriched uranium at near
20-percent levels, diplomats said in May when they disclosed to The
Associated Press that Iranian technicians had assembled the second
164-centrifuge cascade and appeared ready to activate it.
the diplomats familiar with Iran's enrichment programs emphasized at the
time that the idea appeared not to produce greater amounts than the
first operating cascade was turning out, but to improve productivity.
IAEA's comments Monday came as Iran announced plans to get rid of its
dollar and euro reserves in response to the latest UN sanctions over its
contested nuclear program.
"To fight sanctions, we will remove
the dollar and euro from our foreign exchange basket and will replace
them with (the Iranian) rial and the currency of any country cooperating
with us," Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi told Iran's semiofficial
Fars news agency. "We consider these currencies (dollar and euro) dirty
and won't sell oil in dollar and euro," he added.
a German lawmaker who recently visited Tehran said Iranian officials
fear the country's international trade will suffer from the latest round
A top Iranian adviser, meanwhile, said the
Americans "must be dreaming" if they think they can intimidate Tehran
into giving that program up.
Rainer Stinner, a foreign policy
specialist with Germany's Free Democrats — junior partners in the
coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel — told The Associated
Press Iranian lawmakers and government representatives he met last week
in Teheran fear the sanctions will lead to decreased imports and
Iranians "suppose that these sanctions could have a
significant impact on import and export," he told the AP in a telephone
interview from New Delhi.
Meanwhile, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ali Akbar Velayati,
rejected the idea of Tehran giving up its nuclear program, insisting
American threats will not deter Iran. He spoke during a trip to Syria.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said last week the US
military has a plan to attack Iran, although he thinks a military strike
is probably a bad idea. Still, Adm. Mike Mullen said the risk of Iran
developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.