Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Nuclear plant in Iran (Archives)
Photo: AP

Iran marks 'National Nuclear Day'

Iran celebrates first anniversary of uranium enrichment, president announces installation of 3,000 new centrifuges during ceremony marking occasion; country’s nuclear negotiator says Iran ready for serious negotiations with West

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived Monday afternoon at the Natanz enrichment plant, where ceremonies were being held to mark ‘National Nuclear Day’, according to the Iranian FARS news agency.


Ahmadinejad was expected to deliver “good news” regarding his country’s nuclear plan during one of the ceremonies; the Iranian press has hinted that he would announce the installation of 3,000 new centrifuges.


In response, State Department said Monday.


Spokesman Sean McCormack said Iran's actions are such that the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. nuclear watchdog group ''don't believe Iran's assurances that their (nuclear) program is peaceful in nature.''


He noted that there will be a U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency report on May 24 about what agency officials have found in monitoring Iranian nuclear activities.



Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said Monday that Iran was ready for serious negotiations with the West to seek a deal that would end a row over its atomic plans.


“If the West is interested in reaching an understanding with us today, it is invited to,” Larijani said. Iran is marking ‘National Nuclear Day’.


Iran has rejected UN demands to halt uranium enrichment, a process which the West fears Iran is using in order to build atomic bombs. Iranian media said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may announce on Monday that Iran is expanding its atomic work.


“Today, with the nuclear fuel cycle complete, we are ready to begin real negotiations with the aim of reaching an understanding,” nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.


“We are ready to negotiate and reach an agreement with Western countries in order to remove their worries about nuclear Iran without putting an end to our scientific development,” he said in a speech in the eastern city of Mashhad.


Talks led by the European Union to end the standoff collapsed last year when Iran refused to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to make atomic warheads but which Iran says it will only use to make nuclear reactor fuel for electricity generation.


Some preliminary discussions have resumed and Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran is open to negotiations without preconditions.


Iran’s refusal to heed UN demands prompted the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran. Tehran said this would not derail what it calls its peaceful atomic plans.


“The West should know that reaching an agreement with Iran will not be done by UN resolutions and if it creates tension instead of an interaction with Iran they should know that Iran will show a serious reaction,” he said.


Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, says it has the right to enrich uranium under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but the West says it must first prove its peaceful intentions.


AP and Reuters contributed to this article


פרסום ראשון: 04.09.07, 15:23
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