news: IRAN

Iran ‘ceases nuclear enrichment’

Iran says it is suspending its uranium enrichment programme, in line with a deadline agreed with European nations. The suspension has been welcomed as “a good step in the right direction” by the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog. Earlier, the head of Iran’s nuclear energy body said work would stop at two nuclear plants in Isfahan and Natanz. Tehran agreed a week ago to suspend its enrichment operations in a deal with the three European nations to allay fears about its nuclear ambitions.

Iran has reacted angrily to recent reports it was speeding up uranium enrichment before the suspension took effect. The country has always denied US claims that it is developing a nuclear weapons programme. The head of Iran’s nuclear agency, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, said enrichment activities would stop as agreed. “I believe Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation has carried out whatever measures are required for confidence-building,” he told reporters, “our intentions are peaceful”.