Tehran hopes US pressure will not affect IAEA nuclear report

Iran Materials 15 September 2008 12:07 (UTC +04:00)

Tehran on Monday expressed hope that "outside pressure," especially by the United States, would not affect an upcoming report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on its nuclear programme, reported dpa.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi told reporters in Tehran the UN nuclear watchdog should only consider the technical and legal aspects in its report and not be influenced by political and Western media pressure.

The spokesman termed Iran's cooperation with the IAEA as positive and constructive and hoped it would be continued in the same way.

The IAEA was expected to issue its latest report on Iran's controversial nuclear projects later on Monday.

The US and its allies have demanded a suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment activities, and the UN Security Council has passed three sanctions resolutions also calling for a halt, which Tehran has ignored.

Iran claims to have gone beyond the research phase and reached uranium enrichment on an industrial-scale, which is necessary for producing nuclear fuel.

But Tehran insists enrichment has not gone beyond the 5-per-cent level for producing nuclear fuel. Uranium enriched to a higher degree is used for nuclear weapons.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters on Sunday that following his return from the UN General Assembly in New York later this month, he would give the Iranian nation "good news again."

The news network Khabar reported last month that Iran was moving toward large-scale uranium enrichment at its enrichment facility at Natanz that would ultimately involve 54,000 centrifuges. The Khabar report was neither confirmed nor denied by official sources.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Sheikh-Attar, who is to become Iran's next ambassador to Germany, said last month that almost 4,000 centrifuges were operating in Natanz and 3,000 more were being installed.

Ahmadinejad had claimed that of 6,000 new centrifuges in Natanz, 5,000 had already become operational.

The IAEA has so far confirmed that about 3,000 to 3,500 centrifuges were operational at the Natanz plant.