August 30, 2006

Iran enriching uranium ahead of U.N. deadline: paper

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran has begun enriching a new batch
of uranium just days ahead of a U.N. deadline for Tehran to
suspend atomic fuel work or face possible sanction, The
Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the Vienna-based
U.N. nuclear watchdog, plans to disclose Iran's new enrichment
work in a report due out on Thursday, the newspaper said,
citing officials in Washington and European capitals who have
been monitoring Iran's efforts.

The newspaper said the officials stressed that Iran's new
work involved small quantities of uranium being enriched to an
extremely low level that could not be used for nuclear weapons.

The U.N. Security Council has given Iran until Thursday to
suspend uranium enrichment -- a process which can produce fuel
for civilian reactors or material for nuclear bombs -- and has
threatened to consider sanctions unless it does so.

Iran has said it would not stop its nuclear activities,
which it contends is for generating electricity.

"We've seen no indication that Iran intends to comply with
the U.N. Security Council's condition of suspending its nuclear
program," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told the Post
in an interview.

"Should it not comply by Thursday, and should the IAEA
report confirm Iran's continued efforts to enrich uranium, the
U.S. will move to begin sanctions discussion at the United
Nations, and we expect a sanctions resolution to be passed,"
Burns said.