Iran hands IAEA plant supervision

Vice president says newly-disclosed uranium facility a "precautionary measure".

    Ahmadinejad said he thought he would be encouraged for notifying the UN early about the plant [AFP]
     

    Dismissing allegations that the plant has a military purpose, Salehi said the facility is being constructed as a "precautionary measure in case of an unwanted incident against our nuclear programme".

    He said Iran's nuclear installations are facing "threats every day" and so Tehran "had to take measures to disperse" the locations of its installations.

    Inspection permitted

    In the first official disclosure of the plant's location, Salehi said earlier on Saturday that Tehran would allow IAEA inspectors to inspect the plant 100km south of the capital, Tehran, on the road to the city of Qom.

    in depth

      Interview: Jordan's Queen Noor on her campaign for nuclear disarmament
      Riz Khan: Nuclear double standard
      Empire: Iran - Influence or threat
      Iran in arms race with Israel
      Who's afraid of Iran?
      Timeline: Iran's nuclear programme

    The IAEA said a day earlier that Tehran had written to the agency on September 21 disclosing that it is building a new uranium enrichment facility.

    "God willing, this new plant will become operational soon and make the enemy blind," Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, the chief of staff for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said on Saturday.

    The announcement of the new facility came just days before an October 1 meeting in Geneva between Iran and six world powers to discuss Tehran's disputed atomic programme.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, denied Tehran was building the plant in secret, as claimed by Western leaders, and told reporters in New York on Friday the facility is "completely legal".

    "We actually informed the agency [IAEA] 18 months ahead of time.

    "Is this the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do? I thought we are supposed to be encouraged for taking this action."

    'Guarantee' for Tehran

    Salehi said the plant was a "guarantee" that Tehran's nuclear work would continue.

    "Considering the threats [to existing nuclear sites], our organisation decided to do what is necessary to preserve and continue our nuclear activities," he said.

    "So we decided to build new installations which will guarantee the continuation of our nuclear activities which will never stop, at any cost."

    Obama and other Western leaders have threatened Tehran with new sanctions if it does not "come clean" during the Geneva talks between Saeed Jalili, Iran's senior nuclear negotiator, and representatives of the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany.

    "They are going to have to make a choice," Obama said at a G20 summit in Pittsburgh, US, on Friday.

    "Are they going to go down the path of giving up the acquisition of nuclear weapons and abide by international standards in their pursuit of peaceful nuclear energy, or continue going down a path that will lead to confrontation?" he said.

    Uranium enrichment lies at the heart of the nuclear controversy, as the process can be used to make an atomic bomb as well as producing fuel for nuclear reactors.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?