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Defiant Iran goes forth with 2 nuclear projects

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Iran put the finishing touch on its latest round of nuclear talks with world powers with a symbolic face-slap and on Tuesday jumpstarted two key nuclear-related projects.

Iran-run media reported that the nation has started operations at Saghand and at Ardakan. The Associated Press said the sites represent two of Iran's biggest uranium operations: Saghand is a uranium mine, and Ardakan is an ore concentrate production plant. As AP reported, Iran already has mines and processing facilities in operation.

But those other facilities are much smaller than the ones at Saghand and Ardakan. And the West fears starting operations at these two central Iran sites gives the country greater ability to make the materials needed to enrich nuclear fuel — to ultimately, warhead grade levels.

Iran is perceived by the United States and U.S. allies as bypassing U.N. sanctions against its purchase of nuclear materials by developing its own nuclear enrichment program to a level that allows it to construct its own — a charge that Iranian officials deny. Iran maintains its nuclear enrichment is for peaceable, energy-related purposes only.

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