Ali-Akbar Salehi said Iran did not need to enrich uranium to 60 percent in order to carry out a peaceful nuclear program, contradicting members of parliament who said recently that 60 percent was required for defense purposes.
"If the parliamentarians consider enriching uranium to the level of 60 percent helpful for the country and turn it into a law, we have to obey," said Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
Salehi's statements came after a leading member of he parliament's Nation Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, said in December that a 60-percent enrichment was necessary to produce fuel for the Islamic Republic's nuclear submarines, China's Xinhua news agency said.
Submarines, however, are not the major concern for the United States, Israel and other Western nations that see higher enrichment levels as a cornerstone of development of a nuclear bomb.
Salehi told an audience Friday that Iran had the right to develop peaceful nuclear-power capabilities as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and that its international critics would have to accept that fact, Iran's FARS news agency said. "The nuclear decisions of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its programs have already become operational and they are irreversible," Salehi said.