Iran says it has delivered its first
domestically produced raw uranium, or yellowcake, to a plant that can make it
ready for enrichment.
The statement, from Iran’s nuclear chief
Ali Akbar Salehi, comes the day before talks between Iran and world powers over
its nuclear programme.
Enriched uranium can be used for fuel in
reactors or made into nuclear bombs.
The US and its allies believe Iran may
be trying to produce nuclear weapons, a claim denied by Iran.
Tehran says its nuclear programme is for
peaceful, civilian purposes.
“The West had counted on the
possibility of us being in trouble over raw material but today we had the first
batch of yellowcake from Gachin mine sent to Isfahan (conversion) facility,”
Mr Salehi said on state television.
Iran was believed to be running low on
its stock of yellowcake, originally imported from South Africa in the 1970s.
The claim comes ahead of talks in Geneva
on Monday between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security
Council – the US, Russia, China, France and Britain – and Germany.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
has urged Iran to enter the talks in good faith and with “a much more
sober assessment of what isolation means”, given successive rounds of UN
The sanctions have been levelled at
Iran’s failure to comply with UN Security Council resolutions ordering it to
stop uranium enrichment.
The Security Council has said that until
Iran’s peaceful intentions can be fully established, it should stop enrichment
and other nuclear activities.
Iran says that as a signatory of the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has the right to enrich uranium for fuel
for civil nuclear power.