US Condemns Iran’s Announcement to begin uranium enrichment near the Shi'ite holy city of Qom

US Condemns Iran’s Announcement on Qom
VOA - January 10th, 2012

The United States has condemned the Iranian government's decision to begin uranium enrichment near the Shi'ite holy city of Qom, a second facility where the material can be upgraded quickly for potential use in a nuclear bomb.

In a statement Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “the move is contrary to Iran's obligations under multiple U.N. Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors resolutions.”

The statement said “the circumstances surrounding the action are especially troubling, since Iran only declared the underground Fordo complex to the IAEA after it was discovered following three years of covert construction.”

The statement called upon Iran “to immediately cease uranium enrichment because it brings Tehran significantly closer to having the capability to produce weapons-grade uranium.”

In Moscow Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed “regret and concern,” after Tehran announced that it intends to consolidate and increase its production of uranium enriched to a near 20 percent level at Fordo.

On Monday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland questioned Iran's motives. She said that when uranium enrichment is raised to 20 percent, “it generally tends to indicate that you are enriching to a level that takes you to a different kind of nuclear program.”

France called the move “this new provocation.” A Foreign Ministry statement said the move “leaves us with no other choice but to reinforce international sanctions and to adopt, with our European partners and all willing countries, measures of an unprecedented scale and severity.”

Iran says its nuclear program is designed only to generate electricity and material for medical research.

The United States and its ally Israel have not ruled out military action to stop the program. Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence.

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