With the deal to send its low enriched uranium overseas to be more highly enriched for medical purposes in tatters and the IAEA issuing a blanket condemnation of Iran’s civilian nuclear program, Iran says it is done with talks.
Instead, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his nation will produce the 20 percent enriched uranium it needs for medical isotopes on its own. Currently Iran only produces 3.5 percent enriched uranium, the type needed for its Bushehr nuclear power plant.
Some analysts are expressing doubts that Iran will be able to accomplish this new type of enrichment, let alone the fabrication of the fuel rods needed for the medical reactor. Still, this has not stopped others from speculating that this was another step toward a nuclear weapon, which requires much, much more highly enriched uranium.
Last week’s IAEA resolution demands that Iran halt construction of the Qom facility, despite repeated certifications by the agency that Iran has not diverted any uranium to illegal purposes.
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