Iran officially joins nuclear club
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said that Iran has gained access to the nuclear fuel cycle and enriched uranium to a level that can be used in nuclear power plants on April 9.
“I officially announce that Iran has joined the group of countries that possess nuclear technology,” he said in a gathering in Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province.
Ahmadinejad stated that Iran seeks peace and calm based on justice for humanity, adding that the country’s nuclear technology is for peaceful purposes.
He stated that Iran’s nuclear activities have been under the complete supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), adding that the Islamic Republic will continue its activities under IAEA supervision and within the framework of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the IAEA Statute in order to achieve industrial-scale uranium enrichment.
“Iran’s civilized and cultured nation relies on the faith of its youth and the lofty values of the Iranian-Islamic culture.”
The president warned the world’s bullying powers not to repeat their past mistake by trying to prevent Iran from achieving its rights and to respect the rights of the Iranian nation.
He noted that Iran’s progress and strength would serve to promote peace and security for its neighbors and all nations in the world.
The gathering was attended by fifteen ambassadors, mostly from neighboring states, Iranian artists, athletes, scholars, and MPs as well as high-ranking commanders of the Armed Forces.
In a speech prior to Ahmadinejad’s remarks, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Director Gholamreza Aqazadeh announced that Iran has enriched uranium to a level used in nuclear power plants.
"I am proud to announce that Iran has started enriching uranium to the 3.5 percent level, and thus has passed the stage of pilot production and has paved the way for launching 3000 centrifuges by the end of the (current Iranian calendar) year (March 20, 2007).”
He stated that Iran has produced 110 tons of uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6), the feedstock for enriched fuel.
Aqazadeh added that the production of a new 40-megawatt heavy water reactor in Iran would be completed in two years time.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Kuwaiti News Agency published on Tuesday, Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani announced that Iran has launched 164 centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported.
“Iran has operated the first unit which comprises of 164 centrifuges, gas has been injected, and we have got the industrial output,” he said.
“We prefer to develop the work in order to achieve a complete industrial unit.”
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to visit Iran later this week.
ElBaradei will encounter a new situation once he enters Iran, Rafsanjani said.
“We will ask our nuclear officials to make a wise decision in regard to the nuclear issue in order to bring the dossier back to its normal course,” he added.
The EC chairman noted that the nuclear issue is currently very complicated.
“This is because all major powers are following the issue closely, and Iran is also very serious in defending its legitimate right.”