US says no to Iran industrial-scale uranium enrichment

Tehran, Iran, Jul. 8

By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:

A U.S. State Department spokesman said until Iran can prove that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes, only a portion of the centrifuges should remain active.

Iranian officials have announced repeatedly, both ahead and after of starting two week-long nuclear talks in Vienna that they will never reduce the centrifuges number to less than 50,000. Iran has about 19,000 centrifuges, of which a half of them are active. The active centrifuges are IR-1 type with 16,000 rotations per minute.

Iran possesses IR-2 to IR-4 type inactive centrifuges that can spin four to 15 times faster than IR-1 types and are able to enrich uranium gas (UF6) in a shorter time. It needs about 54,000 active IR-1 type centrifuges to supply 3.5-percent pure uranium to be converted to fuel for a 1,000-MW power plant annually.

Iran has only one 1,000-MW nuclear power plant at Busheher, launched in 2011 and its fuel feed is guaranteed by Russia for 10 years.

U.S. State Department Farsi speaking spokesman, Alan Eyre told Trend on July 8, that in drafting the long-term nuclear accord, discussion over Iran's industrial-scale uranium enrichment is out of the question.

"Iran can acquire as many centrifuges as it wants to have only after the elimination of international community's concerns over its nuclear program, namely after the full implementation of final nuclear agreement between Iran and the six powers, comprised of U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China.

The interim nuclear accord covers a period from January 20 to July 20. Now, Iran and the six foreign powers are negotiating to reach a long-term nuclear agreement, expected to be reached on July 20 or at most by late 2014. The State Department's Eyre underlined the July 20 as the deadline by which an accord should be reached.

Alan Eyre said that major gaps remain between the U.S. and the five other members of the sextet and the position adopted by the Islamic Republic.

The time of long-term nuclear accord

In addition to the dispute over the number of centrifuges, Iran is also keen to shorten the period of implementation of the long-term nuclear agreement which aimed to impose temporary restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities. The Western power however want the restrictions to remain in effect at least two decades.

Eyre said that the major key question is whether Iran has the will and eagerness to prove its nuclear activity is intended for peaceful purposes.

Responding to a question demanding greater details about what he called "gaps" in his speech, Eyre said that Iran and the Sextet decided to not reveal details of the negotiations to the media. Eyre added that the composition of the nuclear accord should serve to assure the international community that Iran will never obtain nuclear weapon. We agreed that until all outstanding issues are resolved, there will be no final accord.

Additional protocol

One of the measures the West considers a guarantee in preventing Iran from building a nuclear bomb is the implementation of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Additional protocol by Iran.

This Protocol allows IAEA inspectors to visit Iran's nuclear facilities whenever they want, without waiting for permission from Tehran.

Tehran voluntarily signed the Additional Protocol in December 2003 and remained committed to it for over two years, but suspended its implementation after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Mohammad Javad Zarif Iran's foreign minister said on June 27 that Iran and the six world powers have not yet discussed the issue of Iran's acceptance of the Additional Protocol, but can be included in the final accord text.

The Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires member states to provide an expanded declaration of their nuclear activities and grants the Agency broader rights of access to the nuclear sites.

Eyre said that one of the final steps to achieve the nuclear accord mentioned in the Geneva agreement is the implementation of transparency measures and expanding the supervision scale on Iran's nuclear program, as well as acceptance of the Additional Protocol by the Iranian government and parliament.

The acceptance of the Protocol by Iran will affirm that the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities does not have any military aspect," said Eyre.

Eyre mentioned that Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khameni's issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons. However, Iran should prove its claims.

He went on to say that in case Iran proves its claims, the sanctions currently imposed Iran will be lifted at which time Iranians would be able to re-connect with the international financial system.

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