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Iranian President Signs Bill Calling For More Uranium Enrichment

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad today signed a bill calling for continued uranium enrichment and limiting any cooperation with the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, beyond what is required under the Nonproliferation Treaty.

The bill -- titled "Safeguarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Peaceful Nuclear Achievements" -- comes days after the United States suggested that the launch of a Russian-built atomic power station and Russia's agreement to supply nuclear fuel for the plant eliminates the need for further enrichment activity.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on August 14 said the new Bushehr plant, which Russia says it will start up on August 21, "calls into question [Iran's] motives" for pursuing enrichment.

Iranian media report that the bill calls on Iran to pursue enrichment to 20 percent in order to manufacture fuel for a reactor making medical isotopes.

Western countries suspect Iran's nuclear program is aimed at making a bomb. Iran says its nuclear activity is peaceful.

The United Nations in June imposed a fourth round of sanctions on the Islamic republic over its nuclear program.

compiled from agency reports