Photograph by the Office of the Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran via Getty Images.
Iran’s nuclear chief said Sunday the country sees no reason to stop its 20 percent enrichment of uranium, a statement that seemed to back off an earlier suggestion that Tehran might be willing to compromise on the issue, reports the New York Times.
“There is no reason for us to back down on 20 percent-level enrichment, because we produce only as much 20 percent material as we need,” Fereidoun Abbasi said. “Not more, not less.”
Abbasi also said Iran will start building two new nuclear power plants next year.
Western powers are concerned the 20 percent enrichment could quickly be turned into material that could be used for nuclear weapons, notes the Associated Press.
The nuclear chief also said that the U.N. watchdog has not given Tehran a good justification to inspect the Parchin complex, where it is believed that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, reports Reuters. Iranian officials say the complex is a military site.
Abbasi’s remarks make it clear that Iran will not easily give in to demands from Western powers when negotiations resume in Moscow on June 18. If those talks fail, financial sanctions on Iran could expand as early as July 1, points out the New York Times.