US downplays Iranian nuclear announcement
The US downplayed an Iranian announcement Wednesday of advances in its nuclear programme, saying the move was "hyped", dpa reported.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated three new nuclear projects, including the insertion of Iranian-made nuclear fuel rods into a medical reactor and advances at an energy plant, in a show of defiance against mounting international pressure for the country to abandon its nuclear programme.
"We frankly don't see a lot new here," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington. "This is not big news. In fact, it seems to have been hyped."
"The Iranians have for many months been putting out calendars of accomplishments, and based on their own calendars, they are many, many months behind. This strikes us as calibrated mostly for a domestic audience."
Nuland and White House spokesman Jay Carney both said the announcement appeared to indicate that international pressure on Iran was starting to work.
"What we see is provocative acts, defiant acts, statements that are designed to distract attention from the demonstrated impact that the sanctions are having, the demonstrated impact that the isolation of Iran is having," Carney said. dpa aw mjr Author: Anne Walters