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Iran to enrich uranium to 20% at Fordo site

Iranian nuclear program chief announces that Iran will transfer the 20 percent enrichment from Natanz to the Fordo site this year, under the supervision of the IAEA

AFP , Wednesday 8 Jun 2011
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Iran will transfer its 20 percent uranium enrichment activities to the Fordo site, southwest of Tehran, and triple its production capacity, the country's nuclear chief said Wednesday.

"We will transfer the 20 percent enrichment from Natanz to the Fordo site this year, under the supervision of the (International Atomic Energy) Agency," Fereydoon Abbasi Davani was quoted as saying by state television's website.

"We will also triple the (production) capacity. The 20 percent enrichment will not be stopped at Natanz until the production level is three times higher than its current rate," he said.

Revelations in 2009 about the construction of the Fordo plant, near the holy Shiite city of Qom and about 150 kilometres (94 miles) southwest of Tehran, prompted the United Nations to strengthen sanctions against Tehran.

Iran informed the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency in February that the Fordo site was prepared to host centrifuges -- machines which enrich uranium at supersonic speed -- and that it would become operational in the summer.

Iran's uranium enrichment activities are currently undertaken in the central city of Natanz.

In April, Abbasi Davani said that Iran would continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity to fuel "four to five (research) reactors" which he said Iran plans to build.

World powers accuse Iran of seeking to acquire a nuclear military capacity under the guise of its civilian atomic programme, a charge Tehran strongly denies.

Their main objection is to Iran's uranium enrichment programme, which can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the fissile material for an atomic warhead.

The Islamic republic is under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

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