Iran to expand nuclear program

Sunday, April 06, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Iran will expand its uranium enrichment efforts, not halt them, in response to an incentive package offered by a European Union-led bloc of nations, an Iranian government spokesman told reporters in Tehran on Saturday.

"Iran does not trade its rights in return for incentives," said spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham. "The Islamic Republic of Iran doesn't need incentives from Europe to obtain its rights."

Despite the rebuff, European officials indicated they will continue pursuing a dialogue Iran clearly has no intention of participating in.

Meanwhile, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials who spoke to the Associated Press warned that Iran had recently constructed 300 advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges. They said the new centrifuges were significantly more capable than the thousands Iran has already activated.

The enrichment of uranium is a key step in the process toward obtaining the fissile material needed to build atomic weapons.

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