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Iran Will Continue to Enrich Uranium Itself If Talks Fail

By VOA News

An Iranian official says Iran will continue to enrich uranium itself if talks with world powers about its nuclear program fail.

The spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Agency Ali Shirzadian made the announcement while speaking to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) Monday, just hours before talks in Vienna about Iran's controversial nuclear program were set to resume.

The discussions among representatives from Iran, Russia, France, the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency are expected to focus on a proposal to have Iran ship uranium to Russia and France for conversion to reactor fuel.

Western diplomats consider this a confidence-building measure because third-party processing can ensure that Iran's uranium is enriched to levels suitable for civilian use but below what is needed for nuclear weapons.

Under the proposed plan, Iran would ship uranium with a purity level of 3.5 percent. Russia and France would enrich the uranium to 20 percent purity.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its enrichment activities.

The two-day talks that begin Monday follow up on the October 1 meeting between Iran and six world powers in Geneva.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad heralded those talks as "positive" and a "step forward."

The United States and other Western countries suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 10/19/09 ... --

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