Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran
Tehran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has brushed aside media commotion over the operation of nuclear activities in the Fordo enrichment facility, saying the purpose of enrichment activities in the facility is to provide radioisotopes needed for cancer patients.
In an interview with the Mehr News Agency on Tuesday, Ali Asghar Soltanieh said, "All nuclear activities in Iran including enrichment in Natanz and Fordo are under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency" and everything is monitored round the clock by IAEA inspectors and the cameras installed by the IAEA.
As Iran has informed the IAEA, Iran needs 20 percent enriched uranium to produce nuclear fuel plates for the Tehran research reactor, which produces radioisotopes for cancer treatment, he said.
He also said that the media hype about the start of uranium enrichment in Fordo is "politically motivated."
Soltanieh also told the Fars News Agency on Tuesday that the IAEA has overseen various stages of the completion of the nuclear facility, saying that no member state has pursued its nuclear program as transparently as the Islamic Republic.
According to the online magazine Firstpost, the IAEA has confirmed that Iran has started the production of uranium enriched up to 20 percent in the Fordo enrichment facility.
The news has drawn strong criticism from Western governments.
France has warned of stinging international retribution for "this new provocation," the Firstpost reported on Tuesday. A French Foreign Ministry statement has claimed that the move "leaves us with no other choice but to reinforce international sanctions and to adopt, with our European partners and all willing countries, measures of an intensity and severity without precedent."
According to the report, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has also described Iran's move as a "provocative act which further undermines Iran's claims that its program is entirely civilian in nature."
Hague has also claimed that Iran "already has sufficient enriched uranium to power the (Tehran research) reactor for more than five years and has not even installed the equipment necessary to manufacture fuel elements."
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