BEIJING, June 27 (Xinhuanet) -- The following is a timeline of Iran's nuclear issue.
Iran launched its nuclear development program at the end of the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program. The support continued until the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran.
As to Iran's current nuclear program, the United States and other Western countries worry that Tehran may obtain the materials needed for nuclear weapons by the same process to purify uranium. However, Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purpose, such as producing fuel for nuclear power plants.
In April 2009, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reported that Iran has an operational uranium facility in the city of Isfahan. In September 2009, Iran admitted to a second nuclear plant inside mountainous areas.
In October 2009, representatives of Iran, Germany and five permanent members of the Security Council meet in Geneva for nuclear talks.
The international community demanded that Iran send its 1.1 tons of low-enriched uranium to Russia in one batch by the end of 2009, but Iran defied the deadline.
In February 2010, Iran announced that it has enhanced low-enriched uranium from 3.5 to 20 percent and that the country is in a position to enrich it to 80 percent.
In May 2010, Iran, Turkey and Brazil signed a joint declaration in Tehran to endorse a fuel swap according to which Iran will ship most of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for the 20 percent uranium fuel needed for its reactor.
On June 9, 2010, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to impose a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its suspected nuclear program. The resolution builds on existing UN sanctions imposed since 2006 and expand the breadth and reach of such measures by creating new categories of sanctions.
On June 24, 2010, U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed the Iran sanctions bill, paving way for the Obama administration to take unilateral sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear program.
Under the bill, those businesses that help supply Iran with refined petroleum or help develop the country's own refining capacity would be penalized. Also, any financial institutions that do business with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or other blacklisted Iranian banks could be denied access to the U.S. financial system.
On June 28, 2010, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran will postpone nuclear talks with the West to late August to punish the West for imposing economic sanctions on Iran.
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