Iran: We Have More Uranium, Will Build 16 New Plants

Announcement comes on eve of nuke talks
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2013 4:50 PM CST
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles to journalists as he arrives to the press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday Feb. 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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(Newser) – Days before returning to the nuclear bargaining table, Iran says it has found more raw-uranium deposits and plans to build 16 new nuclear power stations, Reuters reports. A state news agency said the new deposits exist in "southern coastal areas" and triple Iran's estimated amount of raw uranium. The announcement comes after Western experts concluded that Iran, which has few uranium mines, had likely drained its native supply.

But a former Israeli official says Iran is just trying to gain leverage before nuclear talks with US, Russia, France, Germany, and China starting Tuesday. "It seems that Iran is trying to raise the bidding price and to enter negotiations from a position of strength," Danny Ayalon tells the Jerusalem Post. He called it "a negotiating pattern which is common in the Persian bazaar." Iran said its upcoming power stations were for electricity only and conformed to international standards. Iran has also announced the installation of new centrifuges that enrich uranium faster at its site in Natanz—a move Washington called provocative. (Read more Iranian nuclear program stories.)

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