Skip to main content

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

By Mitra Mobasherat and Holly Yan, CNN
April 9, 2013 -- Updated 1357 GMT (2157 HKT)
A nuclear power plant is pictured in Bushehr, Iran, in 2010.
A nuclear power plant is pictured in Bushehr, Iran, in 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: 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

(CNN) -- 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.

Eased sanctions for Iran if ...
Peres on Iran: I trust what Obama says
David Miliband weighs in on Iran

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

"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

CNN's Ivan Watson and Reza Sayah contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT