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Iran defies Western nations, resumes uranium enrichment


VIENNA, Austria -- Iran began enriching uranium on a small scale at its Natanz plant yesterday, according to Western diplomats, defying pleas by the international community that it not resume such activities.

The uranium could be used to generate fuel for civilian power plants or, if more highly enriched, to make a nuclear weapon.

Tehran announced yesterday that it was postponing any further nuclear negotiations with Moscow, which had offered a joint venture to enrich uranium in Russia for use at Iranian power plants.

The moves, another step in the escalating nuclear dispute, capped a weekend of conflicting signals from Iran over whether it would moderate its stance or continue to pursue a strategy of brinkmanship.

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