Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered his country's atomic agency today to begin the production of higher enriched uranium, in a move that's likely to deepen international skepticism about Iran's real nuclear intentions. On state television, Ahmadinejad said: "God willing, 20% enrichment will start" to meet Iran's needs. The comments fly in the face of what was interpreted to be a major policy shift last week when Ahmadinejad said he was ready to export his country's low-enriched uranium for higher enrichment abroad, saying Iran had "no problem" with the UN's plan.
Today's comments, however, appeared to justify the skepticism with which his Tuesday comments were met. Iran is currently enriching uranium up to 4.5% for its under-construction nuclear power plant, using centrifuge machines. Its first nuclear power plant, built with Russia's help, will be operational later this year.