Min­is­ter an­nounces nu­clear ad­vance

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

Iran will make its own fuel later this year for a nu­clear re­search re­ac­tor, its for­eign min­is­ter said Satur­day, an­nounc­ing a “ break­through” that ap­peared timed to strengthen Tehran’s hand in talks with world pow­ers.

Less than two weeks be­fore a sec­ond round of talks with the five per­ma­nent mem­bers of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and Ger­many, Ali Ak­bar Salehi said Iran was push­ing ahead with the ura­nium en­rich­ment that the coun­cil has asked it to sus­pend, cit­ing fears it could be used for atomic bombs.

Salehi said that af­ter a tech­no­log­i­cal break­through, it was set to make the nu­clear fuel plates and rods it needs to pro­duce its own re­ac­tor fuel and that the coun­try has now stock­piled 88 pounds of ura­nium en­riched to 20 per­cent, up from 66 pounds re­ported in Oc­to­ber. Ura­nium en­riched to that level is enough to pro­duce fuel for a med­i­cal re­search re­ac­tor but not for nu­clear weapons.

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