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Iran: Nuclear Facility Construction to Begin by March

Iran's nuclear chief says the country will begin construction of a new uranium enrichment facility by March of next year.

Ali Akbar Salehi told Iranian state television on Monday that the plant is among 10 new sites approved by Tehran last year.

He did not specify where any of the sites will be located, but said they will be built inside mountains. They will be capable of producing enough fuel for a nuclear power plant.

Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute speaks with VOA's Susan Yackee:

A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron told the Associated Press Monday that the announcement does not give the West "comfort" that Iran is moving in a peaceful direction.

Iranian authorities say the country's nuclear facilities are for peaceful purposes. Western nations, however, have imposed sanctions while accusing Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons.

Iran has a large enrichment facility in Natanz and is building a second one inside a mountain at Fordo, southwest of Tehran.

The U.N. Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran in June after the country rejected a U.N.-backed plan to swap low-enriched uranium for uranium fuel rods Iran says it needs for a medical research reactor. The deal would have reduced Iran's uranium stockpile and delayed its capability to produce nuclear weapons.

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