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Iran will not stop 20 percent uranium enrichment, Iran nuclear chief says

Iran’s nuclear chief, Fereydoon Abbasi, said today that Iran will not stop its 20 percent enrichment of uranium.

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The reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran, 750 miles south of Tehran. Inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog agency said traces of uranium enriched up to 27 percent were found at Iran's underground nuclear site at Fordo on May 25, 2012. (Majid Asgaripour/Getty Images)

Iran’s nuclear chief, Fereydoon Abbasi, said today that Iran will not stop its 20 percent enrichment of uranium, the New York Times reported.

Abbasi also announced that Iran will start construction on two new nuclear power plants in 2013, the Associated Press reported.

Speaking on Iran state television, Abbasi said Iran needs the highly enriched uranium for a medical research reactor that produces isotopes for cancer treatment, the AP reported.

More from GlobalPost: Iran: UN inspectors find higher enrichment at nuclear site

Earlier this week, negotiators at nuclear talks in Baghdad proposed that Iran suspend production of highly enriched uranium and export its stockpile in exchange for supplies of medical isotopes, the New York Times reported. Several UN Security Council resolutions call for Iran to suspend all enrichment.

According to the New York Times:

Western powers fear that Iran, if needed, could quickly enrich the uranium to weapons-grade levels of 95 percent.

Iran denies that is pursuing a nuclear weapon program, according to the AP.

The next meeting in the current round of nuclear talks between Iran and the major world powers will be held in Moscow on June 18 and 19, Reuters reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120527/iran-stop-uranium-enrichment-un-abbasi-nuclear