AFP, REUTERS, AL JAZEERA
TEHRAN - Iran unveiled on Tuesday a new uranium production facility and two extraction mines, a few days after talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear program ended in a deadlock, reports AFP.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared Iran now controlled the entire chain of nuclear energy production -- and promptly called on work to be accelerated.
Iran says it opened the Saghand 1 and 2 uranium mines in the central city of Yazd, extracting uranium from a depth of 350 meters, and the Shahid Rezaeinejad plant at Ardakan, according tot the state news agency IRNA. The Ardakan plant, 120 kilometers away from the mines, is able to produce 66 tons of yellow cake -- raw uranium powder -- annually, according to the report.
The United States and its allies suspect the Islamic Republic of pursuing a nuclear weapons capability. Ahmadinejad says its atomic program, including its enrichment of uranium, is merely for civil purposes. Talks between sanctions-hit Iran and world powers (the Security Council's five permanent members and Germany) last week in Almaty, Kazakhstan failed to unlock the situation.
“They (the world powers) tried their utmost to prevent Iran from going nuclear, but Iran has gone nuclear,” said Ahmadinejad, in a speech at Iran's Atomic Energy Organization on Tuesday, reports Reuters. “This nuclear technology and power and science has been institutionalized...All the stages are in our control and every day that we go forward a new horizon opens up before the Iranian nation.”
Since 2006, the UN Security Council has passed repeated resolutions demanding that Iran halt the advancement of its nuclear program, notes Al Jazeera. A number of sanctions have been implemented, reinforced by international punitive measures targetting its vital oil income and access to global banking system.