Iran wants to expand and improve its controversial uranium enrichment program. In a letter obtained by dpa, tehran informed the international atomic energy agency IAEA last week that the country intends to use more centrifuges of a more modern type at its enrichment plant in natans.
According to experts, this would enable the islamic state to accelerate enrichment significantly. For countries that fear the country is secretly working on nuclear weapons, this is a worrying development.
"It will allow them to enrich more uranium faster with fewer centrifuges," said a western diplomat in vienna. But it is too early to make new calculations on the basis of this announcement as to when iran could have a nuclear bomb. So far, natans is still officially declared as a five percent enrichment facility, another diplomat said.
Low-enriched uranium can only be used for civilian purposes such as electricity generation. It had to be enriched to a much higher level for weapons purposes.
The communication to the IAEA does not specify how many centrifuges iran wants to install. No date is given either. Even diplomats are so far in the dark about it.
Many countries have suspected for years that tehran is pressing ahead with its nuclear program, despite assurances to the contrary that it is building atomic bombs. Since the country no longer cooperates sufficiently with IAEA inspectors, they can no longer rule it out.
To resolve the conflict, IAEA representatives and representatives of the five UN veto powers, the united states, france, russia, the united states and china, as well as germany (5+1), repeatedly meet with iran for talks. So far, these have all failed to produce any tangible results. The next 5+1 talks are scheduled for next month: "the new development will be the topic there," said a diplomat.