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Iran Moving In The Wrong Direction In Enriching Uranium

Iran insists it only wants to generate nuclear power.
by Staff Writers
Columbia, Missouri (AFP) Apr 12, 2006
The White House on Tuesday said that Iran was "moving in the wrong direction", after the Islamic republic announced that it had enriched uranium in defiance of the UN Security Council.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan, speaking to journalists during a trip by President George W. Bush to Missouri, said that Iran's announcement had heightened concerns in the international community about the country's nuclear program.

Iran is "moving in the wrong direction," he said.

A senior Iranian official earlier announced Iran had successfully enriched uranium to make nuclear fuel, a major breakthrough in its disputed nuclear drive that defies a UN Security Council demand for the work to be halted.

Iran's hardline president earlier declared his country was poised to enter the world's "nuclear club".

"Iran will soon join the club of countries that have nuclear technology," state-run television quoted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying in a speech.

"The equation will change in favor of the Iranian people," Ahmadinejad said, apparently referring to Iran's bid to master the nuclear fuel cycle and produce nuclear fuel on its own soil.

Ahmadinejad later said in a speech carried live on state television that the Islamic republic must accelerate its nuclear energy program in order to enrich uranium on an industrial scale.

"I ask all nuclear officials to speed up their work so as to produce fuel for the country's (future) power stations," he said.

Iran's announcement came just 15 days before the expiration of a Security Council deadline for Iran to freeze its enrichment programme -- a process that can be lead to production of the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

Iran insists it only wants to generate nuclear power and has so far rejected the ultimatum.

Western powers argue that Iran must be prevented from mastering this sensitive process, which even if for peaceful purposes would also deliver the country the technical know-how needed to make a nuclear weapon.

On Monday Bush rejected media reports that the United States is planning to attack Iran over the issue as "wild speculation," and said diplomacy was preferred to resolve the nuclear crisis.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Tuesday dismissed as "fantasyland" reports that the Pentagon is planning military strikes against Iran. Rumsfeld refused to discuss whether the US military has stepped up plans for military strikes against Iran, and joined President George W. Bush in attacking such news reports as unfounded speculation.

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