Iran declares itself a nuclear state
February 11, 2010
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today told hundreds of thousands of cheering Iranians on the anniversary of the foundation of the Islamic republic that the country was now a "nuclear state."
"The first package of 20 per cent fuel was produced and provided to the scientists," he said, referring to the recently begun process of enriching Iran's uranium stockpile to higher levels.
Enriching uranium produces fuel for a nuclear power plants but can also be used to create material for atomic weapons. Iran announced Tuesday it was beginning the process of enriching its uranium stockpile to a higher level.
The international community has warned Iran against further enrichment activities, threatening new UN sanctions.
Tehran has said it wants to further enrich the uranium which is still substantially below the 90 per cent plus level used in the fissile core of nuclear warheads, as a part of a plan to fuel its research reactor that provides medical isotopes to hundreds of thousands of Iranians undergoing cancer treatment.
But the West says Tehran is not capable of turning the material into the fuel rods needed by the reactor. Instead it fears that Iran wants to enrich the uranium to make nuclear weapons.