Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has defended his country’s right to nuclear technology as he inaugurated a heavy-water reactor project southwest of the capital. The Arak plant is part of Iran’s controversial atomic programme. The move comes just days before a United Nations deadline expires for Tehran to halt uranium enrichment amid Western fears it could be used to produce atomic warheads.
Iran says the nuclear energy is necessary to meet its growing electricity needs. The UN Security Council passed a resolution on July 31 giving Iran 30 days to halt enrichment or face possible sanctions but divisions at the UN over how to handle the crisis could delay any action.