Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Iran marks 'National Nuclear Day' with a new uranium-processing site

A nuclear power plant is pictured in Bushehr, Iran, in 2010.

Story highlights

  • Iran's nuclear negotiator: "Enrichment is part of the rights of the Iranian people,"
  • The announcement comes after recent nuclear negotiations
  • EU official: Iran and six world powers are at odds on Iran's nuclear program

Two days after nuclear talks with world leaders yielded little progress, Iran announced it has opened a new uranium-processing site to mark "National Nuclear Day."

The country opened a uranium-processing facility as well as a uranium mine in the central province of Yazd, state-run TV reported Tuesday.

Iran's enrichment of uranium has been one of the most contentious issues in nuclear talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries -- the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany.

State TV: Three dead after quake hits Iran, near nuclear site

The P5+1 countries are demanding Iran come clean about its nuclear program, which they suspect includes covert development of nuclear weapons.

But Iran has consistently denied those charges, saying it is enriching uranium and building nuclear reactors only for peaceful civilian energy needs.

Eased sanctions for Iran if ...

    Just Watched

    Eased sanctions for Iran if ...

Eased sanctions for Iran if ... 03:21
PLAY VIDEO
Peres on Iran: I trust what Obama says

    Just Watched

    Peres on Iran: I trust what Obama says

Peres on Iran: I trust what Obama says 01:35
PLAY VIDEO
David Miliband weighs in on Iran

    Just Watched

    David Miliband weighs in on Iran

David Miliband weighs in on Iran 02:49
PLAY VIDEO

"Enrichment is part of the rights of the Iranian people, whether we're talking about 5% or 20%," said Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili said earlier.

Nuclear power plants use uranium that is enriched to 5%, while making a nuclear bomb requires uranium to be enriched 20% or more, Arnie Gundersen, chief energy adviser with the nuclear consulting group Fairewindes Associates, said last year.

Enriched uranium is the fuel for nuclear power plants that generate electricity.

The technique of enriching uranium relies on yellowcake -- a powdery, often yellow substance that comes from processed, mined uranium ore.

Nuclear talks continue to stall

Despite two days of intense negotiations last week, Iran and six world powers "remain far apart" on Tehran's controversial nuclear program, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said Saturday.

Though Jalili described the talks as "substantive, expansive and comprehensive," he said "hostile behaviors" directed toward Iran have been detrimental.

The comment presumably was a reference to the draconian sanctions imposed by Western governments against Tehran, which are crippling the Iranian economy. Oil exports have plummeted over the past several years, as has the value of Iran's currency.

But Ashton defended the use of sanctions.

"The purpose of any sanctions is to put pressure in order to get this process to work," she said. "And I believe we should continue to work as hard as we possibly can to make sure we are successful and we reach a satisfactory resolution."

Iran nuclear talks: Countries to regroup after little progress