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Iran to continue nuclear program, NPP construction - official

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Iran will continue its nuclear program and the construction of nuclear power plants, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Sunday.
TEHRAN, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - Iran will continue its nuclear program and the construction of nuclear power plants, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Sunday.

Iran has been at the center of international concerns over its uranium enrichment program, which some countries, particularly the United States, suspect is geared toward nuclear weapons development. Tehran has consistently denied the claims, saying it needs nuclear power for civilian purposes.

"We'll continue our peaceful nuclear program, and also the construction of nuclear power plants in the country, and this process is irreversible," Hosseini said.

The UN Security Council broadened March 24 its sanctions against the Islamic Republic for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which the country resumed in January 2006 for what it claims to be a civilian nuclear power generating program.

The new UN Security Council resolution was passed following Tehran's refusal to comply with the previous resolution adopted December 23, 2006.

Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said May 19 that the Islamic Republic had started building its first domestically-made nuclear power plant with a capacity of 360 megawatts.

Currently, Iran is completing the construction of its first nuclear power plant with the assistance of Russian specialists at Bushehr in the south of the Islamic Republic.

"We hope for the quick completion of the Bushehr NPP by Russian specialists. Iran has large possibilities for the construction of nuclear power plants and we must not miss such possibilities," Hosseini said.

The construction of the Bushehr NPP was expected to be completed on July 8, 1999 but the deadline has been revised five times since then.

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