Iran to step up nuclear programme

The country will immediately install 3,000 centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment plant following the UN agreement to impose trade sanctions unless Iran ends uranium research.

The import and export of dangerous materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors will be banned along with ballistic missile delivery systems.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said: ‘We will start our installation activities at the Natanz facility from Sunday.

‘It is our immediate answer to the resolution and we will go ahead with full speed.’

Iran says the trade sanctions are illegal and outside the council’s jurisdiction, but Mr Larijani insists they will not be deterred.

He added: ‘We have repeatedly said using the council to pressure Iran will make us more determined to achieve our nuclear goals.’

In October, Iran started a second group of 164 centrifuges which spin at supersonic sppeds to enrich uranium.

Tehran says its Natanz underground facility will eventually house tens of thousands of the machines but that it will only use them to enrich uranium to a level suitable for use in atomic power reactors.