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Iran claims self-sufficiency in nuclear fuel

April 30, 2013 at 9:37 AM

TEHRAN, April 30 (UPI) -- Iran is capable of producing enough nuclear fuel to meet domestic demand with the potential for some left over for export, a nuclear energy official said.

Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Fereydoun Abbasi said there are plans to open a nuclear research facility in Iran's northwestern province of East Azerbaijan.

"Iran is self-sufficient in producing nuclear fuel materials and can even export specialized services (in this field)," he was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying.

Iran is suspected of pursuing technology that could lead to the production of a nuclear weapon. Abbasi said any activity at the new reactor complex would be "harmless."

Abbasi said recently that nuclear researchers may consider enrichment levels of uranium beyond 20 percent for nuclear fuel, a level considered a breakthrough on the path toward a nuclear weapon.

Kazakhstan hosted two rounds of negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. The negotiations ended without a breakthrough. U.N. nuclear inspectors who visited Iran this year said they weren't able to determine the intent of Iran's nuclear program.

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