Iran's nuclear plans face mounting criticism

The US, Russia and France said today that Iran’s project to enrich uranium to a higher degree is raising fresh concerns about its nuclear intentions.

Their joint statement was critical of Tehran’s decision to enrich to the 20% level, saying it represents “a further step toward a capability to produce highly enriched uranium”.

Uranium enriched up to 90% is used to arm nuclear warheads. Iran says its enrichment programme is peaceful, but the international community fears it is a cover for plans to develop such weapons.

Today, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country is installing more advanced centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment facility, a step certain to add to the international concern over Tehran’s accelerating nuclear programme.

President Ahmadinejad told a news conference the new centrifuges are not yet operational but are five times more efficient than an earlier model at its Natanz enrichment plant.

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