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No halt to uranium enrichment, Iran says

Oct. 30, 2013 at 9:55 AM

TEHRAN, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Iranian nuclear facilities are enriching uranium to 20 percent purity at their optimal capacity, the director of Iran's nuclear energy organization said.

"The 20 percent uranium and fuel plates are being produced and built within the country," Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said in a statement published Wednesday by the semiofficial Fars News Agency. "No stop has occurred in the process of the production and it never stopped before."

Iran says it is willing to allay international concerns over its nuclear program but enriching uranium isn't up for debate. Iran's adversaries view enriching uranium to 20 percent purity as a key step on the path to a nuclear weapon.

Salehi said uranium is used to produce radioisotopes for medical research.

Iran wrapped up two days of talks in Vienna this week with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA has said there may be a military dimension to Iran's nuclear program. A joint statement Tuesday said Iran offered new proposals to deal with the nuclear impasse, though few specifics were outlined.

A second round of talks is scheduled Nov. 11 in Tehran. Several rounds of talks this year between Iran, Germany and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council yielded few breakthroughs but were described as amicable.

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