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3 world powers blast Iran for uranium enrichment.

VIENNA, Feb. 16 Kyodo

Russia has joined hands with the United States and France in urging Iran to stop enriching uranium further, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.

Iran's enrichment of uranium to higher levels ''would serve to further undermine the confidence of the international community,'' the three major powers said in a letter sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

''If Iran goes forward with this escalation, it would raise new concerns about Iran's nuclear intentions,'' according to the Feb. 12 letter, obtained by Kyodo News.

The letter followed last week's announcement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the uranium enrichment program.

The Iranian president said last Thursday that Iran has produced its first batch of 20 percent enriched uranium.

The three countries said it is regrettable that Iran has yet to agree to an IAEA proposal worked out last October in Vienna.

The IAEA has proposed that Iran ship its low-grade uranium for enrichment overseas in exchange for enriched uranium of a higher purity for use in its medical research reactor.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran is pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program, which requires highly enriched uranium of over 90 percent purity. Iran claims its nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes.
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Publication:Japan Energy Scan
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Feb 22, 2010
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