October 29, 2009 / 4:28 PM / 10 years ago

TIMELINE: Iran's nuclear program

(Reuters) - Iran proposed changes to a U.N.-drafted atomic fuel deal on Thursday, Iranian media reported, making demands that appeared to challenge the basis of the agreement with the United States, France and Russia.

Details of Iran’s nuclear program emerged in 2002 when the exiled opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran reported the existence of a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Arak.

Here is a timeline of Iran and its nuclear program in 2009:

February 5 - Russia says it plans to start up a nuclear reactor at Iran’s Bushehr plant by the end of 2009. It says the plant is purely civilian and cannot be used for any weapons program.

March 20 - After years of U.S. attempts to isolate Iran, new President Barack Obama calls for “engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.” Iran cautiously welcomes the overture, but said it wanted to see practical steps.

April 9 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran has mastered the nuclear fuel cycle and also tested more advanced machines for enriching uranium. He inaugurates the country’s first atomic fuel fabrication plant near Isfahan.

June 5 - A quarterly IAEA report says Iran has 7,231 centrifuge enrichment machines installed, a 25-percent increase in potential capacity since March.

June 12 - Ahmadinejad is re-elected president. Protests break out by moderates who say the result was fixed.

September 1 - Iran says it has prepared an updated nuclear proposal and is ready to resume talks with world powers.

September 2 - ElBaradei says Iran is not going to produce a nuclear weapon in the near future and the threat posed has been exaggerated.

September 9 - Iran hands over a package of proposals which it says addresses various global issues and represents a new opportunity for talks and cooperation.

September 12 - Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says Iran will not back down in its nuclear dispute with the West, a day after the United States said it would accept Tehran’s offer of wide-ranging talks with six world powers.

September 17 - Ahmadinejad says Iran would never abandon its nuclear program to appease Western critics.

September 24 - China dampens expectations of further sanctions against Iran, telling major powers more pressure would not persuade Tehran to halt its nuclear program.

— In contrast, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown tells the United Nations the world should consider tougher sanctions.

September 25 - The IAEA says Iran has told it about a second uranium enrichment plant being built. Construction of the plant, near the city of Qom, began in 2006.

September 27/28 - Iran begins two days of missile testing to show it is prepared to head off any military threat.

October 1 - Iran meets six world powers in Geneva. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili meets U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns.

— Iran agrees at the talks to move most of its enriched uranium out of the country. Iran has not confirmed it is prepared to go through with the deal.

October 3 - ElBaradei arrives in Iran for talks on a timetable for inspectors to visit a newly disclosed enrichment plant.

October 19 - Vienna talks between Iran and world powers start well, despite Iran’s reported refusal to negotiate with France.

October 21 - U.N. nuclear watchdog presents draft deal to reduce Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium.

Oct 25 - U.N. nuclear experts inspect the newly disclosed centrifuge plant being built near the Shi’ite holy city of Qom. The site will refine uranium for civilian nuclear energy.

October 29 - Iran proposes changes to a U.N.-drafted atomic fuel deal, according to Iranian media, making demands that appeared to challenge the basis of the agreement with the United States, France and Russia.

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