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Iran Will Not Discuss Uranium Enrichment


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Iran's nuclear chief says his country will not discuss anything related to its right to enrich uranium.

Ali Akbar Salehi made his remarks two days before Iran is to discuss its atomic program with world powers in Geneva. He said Iran will never abandon its nuclear program.

Salehi also said Iran's newly disclosed uranium enrichment plant was built in a mountain near a military base to protect it in case of an attack.

He said Iran will soon tell the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) when it can inspect the site, which Tehran last week acknowledged it is developing.

The United States and other Western powers have insisted the IAEA gain immediate access to the facility to ensure it is not being built to produce atomic weapons.

The facility is near the holy Shi'ite city of Qum, about 160 miles southwest of Tehran.

Meanwhile, Iranian lawmakers say Thursday's talks in Geneva are an "historic opportunity" to move past the deadlock on Iran's nuclear program.

In other news, Russia's deputy foreign minister says Iran's missile test launches should not be used as a reason to impose more sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program. But Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency the tests give greater argument to those who support sanctions.

China urged calm after Iran drew international condemnation by testing its longest-range missiles on Monday.

Russia and China are two of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, but have historically been more reluctant than the United States and European nations to punish Iran for enriching uranium.

The United States and its Western allies suspect Iran is building a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and intended to produce electricity.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.