Publishe Date: 2:06 PM - 1/21/2014 | Print

Uranium enrichment Iran red line: AEOI director

Politics - The director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) describes uranium enrichment as the Islamic Republic's red line.

"Enrichment right has been our red line, and the negotiating team has not retreated from it and will not [do so]," Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday during a televised interview

"We have just voluntarily avoided some operations such as enrichment [of uranium] above five percent [purity], and they should meet our needs," he noted.

On January 12, Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - Russia, China, France, Britain, and the US - plus Germany finalized an agreement on ways to implement as of January 20 the interim nuclear deal the two sides struck in Geneva on November 24, 2013. The accord is aimed at setting the stage for the full resolution of the decade-old standoff over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

Iran has suspended 20-percent uranium enrichment as part of the interim deal, and also started the process to dilute and oxidize its 196-kg stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium.

The Iranian official said the West refused to deliver 20-percent-enriched nuclear fuel, when we needed it and therefore forced Iran to set about enrichment at this level, an operation the Islamic Republic did not need in the past.

"If they refuse to meet our demand like provision of 20-percent-enriched uranium, we would act to attain it again," Salehi said.

He said, "In the event of contravention of the agreement, we will be just hours away from resuming 20-percent enrichment."

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