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Iran produced 37 pounds of 20% uranium

June 23, 2010 at 11:23 AM   |   Comments

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TEHRAN, June 23 (UPI) -- Iran has produced 37 pounds of 20 percent enriched uranium and is capable of producing as much as it needs, the country's nuclear agency leader said.

Ali Akbar Salehi , head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said production would be paced so the country would produce only what it needs, the government-backed Iranian Students News Agency reported Wednesday.

"Iran can enrich uranium to any (percentage) it wishes; it is Iran's legal right," Salehi told the news agency. "The country makes 20 percent enriched fuel as much as it needs … but we do not hurry. We continue our job at an appropriate pace so that fuel plate plant is equipped."

Concerning other nuclear activities, Salehi said construction continued on a heavy water reactor in Arak and officials have begun testing a new generation of centrifuges.

"Testing the third generation of centrifuges is being completed and we are working on the 4th generation of centrifuges," he said.

Concerning Western leaders' efforts to ensure Iran's nuclear activities are for civilian not military purposes, Salehi said, "The U.S. believes in a carrot-and-stick strategy (for) Iran. Iran has taken a smart twin-track strategy … which involves talks and continuous enrichment activities."

Western leaders are concerned that Iran is developing capabilities to produce a nuclear warhead, which Tehran has denied.

Salehi said Iran would abide by "all treaties that we have signed, unless they (Western leaders) want to take an approach against Iran's national interests, such as the U.N. Security Council resolutions" imposing economic sanctions.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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