Iran Expected to Announce Mastering Final Uranium Enrichment Stage

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to announce Thursday that the Islamic state has mastered the final stage of nuclear fuel production, Reuters reported.

Ahmadinejad referenced the uranium enrichment during a televised speech Wednesday on the eve of Iran's celebration of National Nuclear Day. Nuclear analysts, however, doubt Iran can prove it has perfected the last phases of producing nuclear energy.

"A possible announcement will be production of natural uranium pellets (in Isfahan) for Iran's Arak heavy water reactor and also production of fuel rods and assembling rods into bundles," Reuters quoted an unidentified analyst. "It is the final stage in a long process to produce nuclear fuel."

Iran has continued its uranium enrichment programs despite U.N. sanctions against it for doing so. Iran denies the goal of its enrichment plant is nuclear weapons.

In a February 19 report, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported it was suspicious of Iran's planned Arak heavy water reactor, because Tehran had been denying visits by IAEA inspectors since August.

Countries coordinating the international response to Iran's disputed nuclear program say they will invite the Iranians for new talks.

Representatives of Britain, the U.S., the European Union, China, France, Germany and Russia met Wednesday in London.

In a statement the group said it welcomed the "new direction" of U.S. policy toward Iran and strongly urged Iran to take advantage of the opportunity for new dialogue.

The group said EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana would invite the Iranian government to meet representatives of the group. No time frame was given.

President Barack Obama has said his administration is looking for opportunities to engage with Iran. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful but the West thinks it wants atomic weapons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.