Iran announces its building of a second nuclear power plant

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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Iranian government has announced that the nation is near completion of a second nuclear power facility. The announcement was made in a September 21 letter from the Iranian government to the United Nations Security Council that a second nuclear plant was being constructed in the city of Qom.

In the letter to the U.N., the Iranian government states that the plant will contain 3,000 centrifuges and produce roughly 5% uranium.

According to CNN, the Iranian government made the announcement after the nation received word that the United States had already known about the facility. CNN cites an unnamed U.S. government official as saying the U.S. was made aware of the facility at some point during the presidency of George W. Bush. Today the U.S., along with France and the United Kingdom, condemned the new plant.

"Iran's decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime. The size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program," said U.S. president Barack Obama during a press conference. French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister of the UK Gordon Brown stood next to Obama as he made the statement.

The Iranian government has repeatedly stated that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and for the production of electricity. In response, the country's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the new plant was not a secret and that the International Atomic Energy Agency knew the plant existed. He also called the statements made by Obama, Brown, and Sarkozy a "mistake."

"It's not a secret site. If it was, why would we have informed the IAEA about it a year ahead of time. They (U.S., UK & France) will regret this announcement. If I were Obama's adviser, I would definitely advise him to refrain from making this statement because it is definitely a mistake. It would definitely be a mistake," said Ahmadinejad to reporters in New York City in the U.S.

The U.N. Security Council has passed several resolutions ordering Iran to stop its enrichment of uranium, or face sanctions. The first resolution, 1696, passed the council in July of 2006 with 14 nations agreeing to the resolution and one opposing it. The resolution ordered Iran to stop enrichment and in December 2006, the council unanimously voted on 1737, which enacted sanctions banning the supply of nuclear related materials to the country, and froze assets of individuals and companies connected to the country's nuclear program.