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Khamenei Says Iran To Continue With Nuclear Plans

August 21, 2006 -- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today said Iran will press ahead with its pursuit of nuclear energy.

As quoted by state television, Khamenei said the Islamic Republic "has made its decision" and will continue on its course "powerfully."

Khamenei stopped short of saying that Iran has rejected international demands for an end to uraniuam enrichment, a technology which can be adapted to military purposes.

But reports say his remarks suggest that the Iranian government will do so in its formal reply to the international proposal, due to be issued in Tehran on August 22.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany have offered Iran various incentives if it renounces its uranium-enrichment program.

Meanwhile, Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) said today it would start operating a heavy-water production plant in the near future.

In comments to Iran's Fars news agency, AEO deputy chief Mohammad Saidi described the plant at Arak, southwest of Tehran, as one of the country's "greatest and most unique achievements."

The plant aims to supply heavy water to a research nuclear reactor under construction which the United States fears could eventually produce plutonium.

(Reuters, AP, Fars)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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