Iran Nuclear Program Self-Sufficient, Top Official Claims

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"(CNN)
Iran now produces everything it needs for the nuclear fuel cycle, making its nuclear program self-sufficient, the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization told state media Sunday.

The Islamic republic has begun producing yellowcake, Ali Akbar Salehi told Press TV.

Salehi's announcement came just a day before Iran is to continue stalled nuclear talks with the so-called P5 plus 1 countries -- Germany and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.

That's no coincidence, CNN's Reza Sayah says. Iran wants to show that despite ever-tighter sanctions, it is not negotiating from a position of weakness.

The United States was not surprised by the announcement, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer told CNN. ""Iran has been trying to develop an indigenous program for years given that the import of yellowcake is banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions,"" he said.

But he said the move raises further concerns about Iran's intentions ""given that Iran's own supply of uranium is not enough for a peaceful nuclear energy program."""