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Iran announces nuclear progress, U.S. to join talks

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Iran announced it has made more progress on uranium enrichment a day after the United States said it would join talks with Iran on its nuclear program.

Israeli sources commenting Thursday on the U.S. announcement said Israel did not object to the move as long as Western powers worked to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Ha’aretz reported Friday.

The United States said it would join Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany in meetings with Iran to discuss its nuclear program.

Talks with Iran reportedly are set to start Saturday in Geneva.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Thursday that the Islamic Republic had 7,000 working centrifuges enriching uranium. It was the same day he opened the country’s first nuclear fuel manufacturing plant.

The United States did not view Iran’s announcement on the heels of its new engagement as a slap in the face.

"We do not attribute any particular meaning, with respect to the range of issues that we are looking to address with the Iranians, from this particular statement," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday at a news conference. She added that Iran’s claims of progress may be false.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to make Iran’s nuclear progress a major topic of discussion when he meets next month with President Obama in Washington.

 

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