Iran starts up first nuclear plant amid fuel enrichment halt signal (2)

14:40, August 21, 2010      

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An Iranian man stands after swimming at seaside near the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, Aug. 20, 2010. Nuclear fuel is going be loaded to Bushehr nuclear power plant the first one in Iranon Aug. 21. Bushehr nuclear power plant draws great attention after the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said earlier this month that the United Stateshas a plan in place to attack Iran, if it is necessary.(xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)

What worries the West most is Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to make fuel for nuclear weapons.

Adding to the fear is Tehran's move in February to start enriching uranium to 20 percent purity form 3.5 percent, making it closer to weapons-grade level.

Major powers have offered a fuel exchange deal in exchange for Tehran's suspension of its move.

Despite Ahmadinejad's signal, Iran's nuclear chief Saleh said on Friday Iran will continue enriching uranium to make fuel for the Bushehr plant as Tehran may not always buy it from Moscow.

"The Bushehr plant has a lifespan of 60 years and we plan to use it for 40 years. Suppose we will buy fuel (for Bushehr power plant) for 10 years from the Russians, what are we going to do for the rest 30 to 50 years?" Saleh was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying.

Russia, which has walked a fine line on Iran for years, has welcomed Ahmadinejad's offer and called for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss a fuel replacement scheme for the Iranian research reactor.

"We believe that this meeting should be held as soon as possible. The meeting format is a minor matter, while the agenda of the meeting is an essential issue. We should launch this dialogue as quickly as possible," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Itar-Tass on Friday.

He said Russia would like to invite officials from Turkey and Brazil to participate in this meeting, as these countries signed the Tehran Declaration with Iran on May 17.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to transfer 1,200 kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey and get within a year 120 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium in return, to keep Tehran's medical research reactor running.Source:Xinhua
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(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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