Iran will build uranium enrichment centers, nuclear chief says

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Tehran, Iran (CNN) — Iran plans to begin construction of 10 uranium enrichment centers across the country by next year, state-run media is quoting Iran’s nuclear chief as saying.

After a cabinet meeting Sunday, Ali Akbar Salehi told IRIB, a state network, that work on one of the centers will be started by March 2011.

Over the weekend, a top Iranian lawmaker defended his nation’s right to enrich uranium in the future after Iran and Russia confirmed that Russians will start loading a nuclear reactor in the Islamic republic with fuel next week.

The August 21 arrival of fuel at the Bushehr facility, which Iran says will create atomic energy but other nations fear could be used for nuclear weapons, marks a key step toward its completion, Russia said Saturday, according to Iranian media.

The progress prompted the White House to question Iran continuing to enrich uranium within its borders, even as the project with Russia moves closer to completion.

“Russia is providing the fuel, and taking the fuel back out,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday.

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