Iran Plans 20 New Nuclear Sites

By Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
December 6, 2009 Updated: December 7, 2009

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—Iran needs 20 uranium enrichment plants in order to meet its civil nuclear aspirations, the country’s official news agency said.

However the country will not pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said on Saturday, quoting Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

"To provide fuel for our nuclear power plants, we need to have 20 uranium enrichment plants," he told the news agency.

On Friday, Iran said that it would provide the bare minimum of information to the International Atomic Energy Association, a move that is likely to stoke the fears of the international community.

Enriched uranium can be used in both civilian nuclear reactors and the warheads of a nuclear weapon.

Previously, Iran had said that it would need 10 more uranium enrichment plants similar to the Natanz underground facility in the holy city of Qom, which drew international concern.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and is only for electricity generation.

Salehi accused the West on Saturday of trying to force Iran out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"I think the West is trying to force us out of the NPT because they have noticed that we are so insistent on adherence to the NPT and this is not to the liking of the West," said Salehi.

"We have no plans to pull out of the NPT."