Iran defies Obama on nuclear power despite election of 'moderate' leader

Iran said Friday it will go forward with its nuclear enrichment goals despite the recent election of a relative moderate to the presidency, dealing a setback to the Obama administration.

The United States and other nations negotiating with Iran had hoped that Hassan Rouhani's election might lead the country to consider requests that it halt enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent and close down its underground plant at Fordow. The head of Iran's atomic energy agency said no on both counts.

The production of nuclear fuel, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani told reporters at a nuclear energy conference in Russia, will “continue in line with our declared goals.”

“The enrichment linked to fuel production will also not change,” he said, according to Reuters.

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The situation, however, could change after the president takes office in early August, according to Reuters. Rouhani struck a deal with the European Union to suspend enrichment as chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005, and may well replace Abbasi-Davani.

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