TEHRAN, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and acting Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced Saturday that the country has so far produced almost 40 kg of 20 percent enriched uranium to supply fuel to the Tehran research reactor, local semi-official Fars news agency reported.
"We have produced about 40 kg of 20 percent (enriched) uranium and we hope to witness the injection of the first batch of Iran- made 20 percent fuel to the Tehran research reactor soon," Fars quoted Salehi as saying.
Salehi also said that Tehran is preparing to resume talks with the Vienna Group (the U.S., Russia, France and the International Atomic Energy Agency) on the swap of nuclear fuel for the Tehran research reactor.
The more they (the Vienna Group) delay in holding a new round of negotiations with Iran, "the more progress we make in fuel production and after a while the issue of fuel swap will become meaningless," Salehi said.
Stressing that Iran is one of the few countries capable of producing fuel rods and plates to be used for peaceful purposes, Salehi said Iran's progress in this field was a result of the West 's lack of cooperation and sanctions.
"Actually the West's attitude made us reach the point," he said.
Salehi announced in June that Iran is potentially capable of producing five kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium per month. In October, he said Iran had produced 30 kg of 20 percent enriched uranium.
In the face of West's denial to provide Iran with the 20 percent enriched uranium for Tehran's research reactor, the Iranian officials have said that they will press on with enriching uranium to 20 percent purity until its nuclear fuel needs are met.
In February, Iran stepped up its uranium enrichment level to 20 percent -- still much lower than the around 90 percent bomb grade but a significant development from its under-five-percent purification.
On May 17, Iranian, Brazilian and Turkish officials signed a nuclear fuel swap agreement that Iran would send some 1,200 kg of its 3.5 percent enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for a total 120 kg of 20 percent enriched fuel.
Western countries are pushing for multi-dimensional sanctions against Iran over its persistence on pursuing its sensitive nuclear program. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is " peaceful" and aims at energy production for civilian use.
Special Report: Iran Nuclear Crisis