Iran Says Nuclear Power Plant Startup on Schedule

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Iran’s nuclear power plant is set to startup as scheduled. But many countries are keeping an eye on Iran’s nuclear plans.

Iran started loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant on Tuesday, one of the last steps to realizing its stated goal of becoming a peaceful nuclear power.

In a news conference in Tehran, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said that the country's peaceful "nuclear activities are going on as scheduled".

[Ramin Mehmanparast, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman]:
"Political pressures like sanctions ... will not impede our progress and will not keep our nation from exercising its inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology."

Iran expects the nuclear power plant to finally begin generating energy by early next year.

Skepticism about Iran's real aims led to a new round of sanctions from the U.N. Security Council in June and tighter measures from the U.S. government and the European Union.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has invited Iran for talks in Vienna in mid-November.

Iran has welcomed the offer of talks, but has not yet formally replied to the invitation.

Iran insists it needs to enrich uranium -- material which can also be used to make weapons if refined much further -- to fuel future power stations and a medical research reactor.

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