August 5, 2007 / 7:44 AM / 12 years ago

Iran says atomic work has not slowed down

A logo for nuclear energy is seen with pictures of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (top L) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Mohamed Elbaradei (bottom R) in central Tehran, July 16, 2007. Iran has no intention of suspending its atomic work and has not slowed down its disputed nuclear activities, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has no intention of suspending its atomic work and has not slowed down its disputed nuclear activities, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

“Iran’s nuclear activities continue as planned and scheduled,” Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a weekly news conference.

Diplomats in Vienna told Reuters on Friday that Iran’s contentious nuclear energy program seemed to have slowed in pace and that Tehran appeared well short of having 3,000 centrifuges operating by the end of July as it had planned.

Iran installed some 2,000 centrifuges during a burst of activity in the spring and proclaimed it had achieved “industrial capacity”, despite failing to overcome all glitches at a small, pilot enrichment plant, according to analysts.

The United States and other Western powers suspect Iran has a covert program to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies it, saying its nuclear program is only for the peaceful generation of electricity.

Hosseini denied some European media reports that Iran might accept a suspension of its nuclear enrichment work.

“Those reports are false and the suspension (of uranium enrichment) is unacceptable. It is completely ruled out,” Hosseini said.

Tehran has resumed working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) this month to remove outstanding issues about its atomic work to forestall a third round of more painful U.N. sanctions over its refusal to shelve uranium enrichment.

Western powers have quietly put off efforts to toughen sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt its uranium enrichment-related activities until September, in hopes that its cooperation with the IAEA will improve.

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