Iran to step up nuclear programme

Nuclear chief announces plans for 20 per cent more uranium enrichment, with immediate effect.

Iran is to step up its nuclear programme, with immediate effect, prompting renewed fears in the West that they are planning to make a bomb.

Ali Akbar Salehi, its nuclear chief, said that, from Tuesday, Iran would start enriching uranium to 20 per cent. He also announced plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants in the next year.

This move heightens fears that Iran is moving closer to weapons-grade uranium. Commentators say that 20 per cent will surpass the needs of civilian nuclear power.

This is the latest in a series of mixed signals from Iran, and is likely to stoke tensions with the West further.

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