Timeline: Iran’s nuclear program

(BestGrowthStock) – Here is a timeline of Iran and its nuclear program in the last year:

April 9, 2009 – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran has mastered the nuclear fuel cycle and also tested more advanced machines for enriching uranium. He inaugurates the country’s first atomic fuel fabrication plant near Isfahan.

June 5 – A quarterly report by U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA says Iran has 7,231 centrifuge enrichment machines installed, a 25 percent increase in potential capacity since March.

June 12 – Ahmadinejad is re-elected president. Protests break out by moderates who say the result was fixed.

September 2 – IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei says Iran is not going to produce a nuclear weapon in the near future and the threat posed has been exaggerated.

September 24 – China dampens expectations of further sanctions against Iran, telling major powers more pressure will not persuade Tehran to halt its nuclear program.

— In contrast, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown tells the United Nations the world should consider tougher sanctions.

September 25 – The IAEA says Iran has told it about a second uranium enrichment plant being built. Construction of the plant, near the city of Qom, began in 2006.

October 1 – Iran meets six world powers in Geneva. Iran accepts a plan at the talks to send 75 percent of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia and France. There it would be made into special fuel for a Tehran reactor making medical materials.

October 21 – IAEA presents draft deal to reduce Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium.

October 25 – U.N. nuclear experts inspect the newly disclosed centrifuge plant being built near the Shi’ite holy city of Qom. The site will refine uranium for civilian nuclear energy.

October 30 – Iran tells IAEA it wants fresh nuclear fuel for a reactor in Tehran before it will agree to ship some enriched uranium stocks to Russia and France, according to the U.N.

November 18 – Iran says it will not send its enriched uranium abroad for further processing but would consider swapping it for nuclear fuel within its borders.

November 19 – Obama issues a strong warning to Iran of consequences of its failure to respond to the nuclear deal.

November 24 – World powers have drafted an IAEA resolution urging Iran to clarify the purpose of its previously secret uranium enrichment site, diplomats say.

November 26 – ElBaradei criticizes Iran’s blockage of a plan to divest it of possible nuclear bomb material as “disappointing.”

November 27 – The IAEA censures Iran for developing a secret enrichment plant near Qom and demands Iran freeze the project.

November 29 – Iran announces plans to build 10 more nuclear sites in reaction to growing international pressure.

January 19, 2010 – Diplomats say Iran has formally rejected key parts of the IAEA-brokered deal.

February 2 – Ahmadinejad says Iran is ready to send its enriched uranium abroad in what appears to be an easing of its position. The next day Iran launches a rocket capable of carrying a satellite, a move Washington describes as a “provocative act.”

February 9 – Iran begins making higher-grade nuclear fuel, enriched to a level of 20 percent, at its Natanz facility.

February 18 – An IAEA report, for the first time, suggests Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability, throwing independent weight behind Western accusations.

March 9 – Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff of Israel’s armed forces, says on a visit to New York that all options “should remain on the table” to force Iran to stop its program.

March 18 – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, visiting Russia, criticizes Moscow’s plans to start up a nuclear power station in Iran. Russia announced the same day it would start up the reactor at the Bushehr plant in the summer of 2010.

March 25 – The United States, Britain, France and Germany begin talks with China and Russia on a U.S.-drafted proposal for a new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran.

April 2 – Iran says it has agreed with China that sanctions “have lost their effectiveness.”

April 9 – Ahmadinejad showcases an improved centrifuge which officials say will enrich uranium faster than existing models. He says Iran’s nuclear path is irreversible.

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

Timeline: Iran’s nuclear program