TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has produced “a few tons” of the gas needed to enrich uranium, a top nuclear official said Wednesday, confirming the country has defied international demands and taken a necessary step toward producing nuclear fuel – or nuclear weapons.
Uranium hexafluoride gas is the material that, in the next stage, is fed into centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Uranium enriched to a low level is used to produce nuclear fuel to generate electricity and enriched further can be used to manufacture atomic bomb.
Iran said last month that it has started converting about 40 tons of raw uranium being mined for enrichment – plans the international community specifically said it found alarming. Iran maintains its intentions are peaceful energy purposes.
“We have converted part of the raw uranium we had and produced a few tons of uranium hexafluoride gas,” said Hossein Mousavian, Iran’s chief delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency told The Associated Press in an interview. He would not specify how much.