IAEA head says Iran making only slow progress in uranium enrichment

Business Materials 17 April 2008 16:26 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Iran is making only slow progress in enriching uranium for use in nuclear applications, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in Berlin Thursday.

IAEA General Secretary Mohammed ElBaradei said the UN nuclear watchdog is well informed on the current situation in Iran.

Tehran's enrichment programme was based on the first-generation centrifuges of the P1 type, ElBaradei said after meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, although research was underway into developing more sophisticated centrifuges.

Iran had increased the number of its centrifuges from 3,000 to 3,300 or 3,400, he said.

ElBaradei stressed the need for continued dialogue to resolve the conflict over the nuclear programme between the international community and Tehran.

Steinmeier said work was underway on a new dialogue proposal but it was not certain whether Tehran would accept an offer.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - along with Germany have been seeking to pressure Tehran to comply with its commitments as a signatory to the NPT nuclear non-proliferation treaty.