Iran Dismisses Reports on Closure of Fordo Enrichment Facility
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi vehemently denied recent media claims that the Iranian president has ordered the closure of the country’s Fordo enrichment facility.
“I deny the case,” Salehi said on the sidelines of a Wednesday session of the Iranian cabinet, when asked about the recent speculations about closure of the nuclear facility on President Hassan Rouhani’s orders.
On September 16, Der Speigel reported that it had learned from intelligence sources that Iran’s president was reportedly prepared to decommission the Fordo enrichment plant and allow international inspectors to monitor the removal of the centrifuges.
Salehi, who was the country's AEOI head before becoming foreign minister in late 2010, also talked of the “positive atmosphere” around talks over Iran's peaceful nuclear program, and predicted a major breakthrough in nuclear negotiations in the coming months.
Salehi further described his Monday talks with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, as "constructive", saying "we shared our expectations and demands with him (Amano)."
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 57th IAEA General Conference in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Separately on Tuesday, Salehi expressed hope that the remaining issues regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program would be resolved during the upcoming round of talks between the Iranian and IAEA officials, to be held on September 27 in Vienna.
The United States and some of its allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA, it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.