Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched two new nuclear projects that will allow the country to enrich uranium. The move came just days after nuclear talks with international leaders made little progress.
New facilities for mining and processing uranium opened in central Iran on Tuesday, coinciding with the country's National Day of Nuclear Technology.
In a televised statement, President Ahmadinejad celebrated the event, urging Western leaders to accept Iran's right to pursue uranium enrichment.
"[Western nations have] tried their utmost to prevent Iran from going nuclear, but Iran has gone nuclear," the Iranian president said. "Nobody will be able to stop it,"
Western leaders, fearing that Iran seeks to build nuclear weapons, have attempted on numerous occasions to persuade Tehran from pursuing a nuclear program by holding numerous talks and imposing crippling sanctions on the country.
But Tehran maintains it wants to enrich uranium for the benefit of its energy program and has remained defiant even as the international bans have hurt its economy.
"This nuclear technology and power and science have been institutionalized ... All the stages are in our control and every day that we go forward a new horizon opens up for the Iranian nation," said Ahmadinejad on Tuesday.
Two mining sites - Saghand 1 and 2- and milling plant in Ardakan comprise the country's latest nuclear project. The Ardakan Plant will give Iran the ability to process raw ore into a material called "yellowcake," which can then be used for power or a nuclear weapon.
Iran's move appeared defiant in light of failed nuclear talks just days ago in Kazakhstan.
The P5 +1 - the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany - had demanded that Iran scale back ist nuclear program, but Iran stood by its view that, as a sovereign nation, it has the right to enrich uranium.
Speaking from Jerusalem on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US was "still open to negotiation," but reminded Iran that it "cannot and will not have a nuclear weapon."
kms/bk (AP. AFP, Reuters)