- - Sunday, May 27, 2012

TEHRAN — Iran’s nuclear chief said Sunday there are no reasons at the moment for his country to halt production of uranium enriched to 20 percent, a key demand of world powers. He also said Iran is planning two new reactors.

The West is concerned that the 20 percent enrichment could quickly be turned into nuclear weapons-grade material. Iran insists its nuclear development program is for peaceful purposes.

The nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, was quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying that Iran will continue the higher enrichment level for a medical-research reactor that produces isotopes for treatment of about 1 million cancer patients in Iran.

“There is no reason for us to back down,” he said.

He added that Iran is planning to build at least two new nuclear power plants next to an existing facility that became operational with Russia’s help last year.


Three charge fraud in first-round voting

CAIRO — Three top candidates in Egypt’s presidential race filed appeals to the election commission ahead of the deadline Sunday, alleging violations in the first-round vote that they say could change the outcome.

The appeals, charging fraud, are likely to inflame an already explosive race, with two of the most polarizing candidates finishing first and second.

Preliminary results from last week’s election placed Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, as the two candidates entering a June 16-17 runoff. Thirteen candidates were on the ballot.

Young, liberal secularists who led the popular rebellion that overthrew longtime leader Mr. Mubarak last year failed to place a candidate in the runoff.


Ex-spokesman denies misleading public

TOKYO — The chief government spokesman during Japan’s nuclear crisis testified Sunday that he did not deliberately mislead the public about the extent of the accident.

Yukio Edano, now the trade and industry minister, told a parliamentary investigative panel that the government did not fully understand the damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant after a massive earthquake and tsunami last year.

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