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Iran's parliament has passed a bill obligating Tehran to continue 20-percent uranium enrichment, defying mounting Western pressure to halt such work. The legislation still needs to be approved by the hard-line Guardians Council before becoming law.

The legislation also stipulates that Iran also must "retaliate" against the inspection of Iranian ships and against the refusal to give fuel to Iranian planes at international airports.

Western powers have demanded that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program, fearing that Tehran would use the material to build nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its nuclear program is a peaceful drive to produce energy.

On June 9, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to suspend enrichment. Under that resolution, member states can carry out high sea inspections of Iranian ships suspected of carrying equipment and material for nuclear use.

compiled from agency reports