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Iran raises stakes in nuclear dispute

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Iran raises stakes in nuclear dispute


Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has told his country’s Atomic Energy Organisation to start work on producing nuclear fuel for a Tehran research reactor.

The decision is likely to irritate Western powers, which want Iran to send most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium abroad in return for higher refined fuel for use in medical isotopes.

But Ahmadinejad has sent contradictory signals before. On Tuesday he appeared to drop long-standing conditions Tehran had set for accepting the UN-brokered fuel proposal.

The United States and Germany say they have seen no indication that Tehran is ready to make concessions over its nuclear programme, despite upbeat comments from Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, over prospects for a deal.

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