Published January 13, 2015
Iran's foreign minister said his country will "vigorously pursue" its nuclear program despite renewed criticism from President Bush and reports that U.N. atomic experts have found traces of weapons-grade uranium (search) at a second site in Iran.
Kamal Kharrazi (search) said Thursday his country was able to enrich its own uranium but does not have the technology to develop nuclear weapons.
"Iran's nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. Iran will vigorously pursue its peaceful nuclear program and will not give in to unreasonable demands that are discriminatory, selective, and go beyond the requirements," of the International Atomic Energy Agency (search), Kharrazi told the U.N. General Assembly.
Diplomats said Thursday that minute quantities of weapons-grade uranium were found by the IAEA at the Kalay-e Electric Co. (search), just west of Tehran. The development has heightened international concerns about the nature of Tehran's nuclear activities.
Bush said Thursday that talks with world leaders this week have produced wide agreement that Iran must not be allowed to have a nuclear weapons program.
"It is very important for the world to come together to make it very clear to Iran that there will be universal condemnation if they continue with a nuclear weapons program," Bush told reporters. "I'll tell you, the response was very positive. People understand the danger of the Iranians having a nuclear weapons program."
He said he plans to raise the issue again during meetings over the next two days at Camp David with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that it was a main subject of many of his sessions with world leaders earlier this week in New York.
Earlier this year, U.N. inspectors found highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium particles at a plant in Natanz that is supposed to produce only a lower grade for energy purposes.
Iran says its nuclear programs are to produce energy and that the traces of weapons-grade material were imported on equipment purchased from abroad. The United States and its allies argue the only purpose of Iran's nuclear efforts is for weapons programs.
The U.N. agency has set an Oct. 31 deadline for Iran to prove that its nuclear program is for energy purposes and not for weapons.
The White House also said it would support a referral to the Security Council if Iran does not comply with the U.N. demands.