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Iran vows to enrich more uranium if talks falter

TEHRAN, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Wednesday enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity could resume quickly if an interim nuclear deal collapses.

"The structure of our nuclear program has been maintained and the 20 percent enrichment can be resumed in less than 24 hours," he was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying.

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Iran and the so-called P5-plus-1 -- the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China and Germany -- agreed to an interim nuclear deal whereby Iran curbs its nuclear enrichment activity in exchange for relief from some economic sanctions.

Iran has expressed frustration with U.S. sanctions pressure, saying it undermines the spirit of the deal. The White House says any pressure is from existing sanctions.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Wednesday he'd lead a team of negotiators to Geneva, Switzerland, later this week to resume talks with Western officials.

Iran is suspected of pursuing the technology needed to build a nuclear weapon, an allegation it denies.

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, agreed in November to work to allay some of the concerns over Iran's nuclear activity.

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