U.N. report notes surge in Iran enrichment

Aug. 30, 2012 at 3:28 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Iran in recent months has more than doubled production of a highly enriched form of uranium, a U.N. report released Thursday said.

The report indicated Iran was ratcheting up production of such uranium while the country's leaders participated in international negotiations on the issue, The Washington Post reported.

Most of the increased production occurred in a fortified nuclear facility built into the side of a mountain near the city of Qom, making it a tough target for a threatened military strike by Israel.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, documented an increase of 60 percent in the country's stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, purified to 20 percent. The uranium can be quickly converted to weapons-grade, the Post said.

The report said Iran's stockpile grew from 159 pounds in mid-May to 255 pounds in mid-August, but the production since May has more than doubled and more than 300 new gas centrifuges have been installed in the underground facility.

The report blamed Iran for failing to comply with U.N. resolutions, and said Iran has not provided convincing evidence of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

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