AFP: The White House on Thursday warned Iran of possible new sanctions after the UN nuclear watchdog reported that Tehran had begun sensitive nuclear work at a key site in defiance of UN resolutions. WASHINGTON, April 19, 2007 (AFP) – The White House on Thursday warned Iran of possible new sanctions after the UN nuclear watchdog reported that Tehran had begun sensitive nuclear work at a key site in defiance of UN resolutions.
“Iran’s leaders continue to lead their proud people down a path of further isolation. While their leaders see this as an advance, it is only a step backward,” said US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.
Johndroe spoke after the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a letter that Iran has started feeding uranium gas for enrichment at a nuclear plant where it has installed over 1,300 centrifuges.
“The IAEA’s letter demonstrates the Iranian government’s continued defiance of the international community,” said Johndroe. “Iran’s actions may only lead them to more sanctions.”
Iran has assembled eight cascades of 164 centrifuges each — a total of 1,312 of the machines which turn uranium gas into enriched uranium for use as either nuclear reactor fuel or to be the explosive core of atom bombs — at a heavily-bunkered underground facility in Natanz.
“Some UF6 (uranium hexafluoride gas) is being fed into those cascades,” International Atomic Energy Agency head of safeguards Ollie Heinonen said in a letter sent Wednesday to Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh.
Pushed by fears Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, the UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran for failing to halt uranium enrichment.
But Iran has said it wants to press ahead with large-scale enrichment at Natanz, far beyond what were previously only research levels.