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Iran Plans Advanced Centrifuges at Nuclear Site


Iranian news agencies - Iranian state-run television and Kayhan daily - report the head of Tehran's nuclear program has announced plans to install a more advanced type of centrifuge at the country's newly-revealed nuclear facility near the Shi'ite holy city of Qom.

The news agencies say Ali Akbar Salehi announced Iran is focusing more on research and development at the site. They quote him as saying Iran hopes to use a "new generation of centrifuges" to enrich uranium there.

The United States and other Western countries suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, and has agreed to let international inspectors visit the site near Qom.

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers are debating whether Iran should be slapped with additional sanctions over the issue.

Senate banking committee chairman Christopher Dodd, a Democrat from the northeastern state of Connecticut, said Tuesday that he plans to move ahead this month on a proposal to impose new sanctions and expand some existing restrictions on Tehran.

In testimony before Dodd's committee, Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey said the U.S. would be "obliged to turn to strengthened sanctions" if Iran does not live up to its obligations concerning its nuclear program.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates say last week's talks in Geneva between Iran and world powers were somewhat successful.

The leaders spoke with CNN during an interview taped at George Washington University late Monday.

Clinton said the meeting with Iran yielded three agreements that give world powers time to assess Iran's commitment to negotiations. She said Iran agreed to ship low-enriched uranium abroad for processing, to allow inspections of nuclear sites, and to meet with world powers later this month for another round of talks.

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