Iran: U.S. can bid on nuclear plant
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran will allow one of its fiercest critics, the United States, to bid on the construction of a nuclear plant, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman said Sunday in his weekly press briefing.
Hamid Reza Asefi said the United States can take part in international bidding to build the plant at Darkhoin in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, if it meets standards and quality expectations, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.
Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Saturday the construction phase of the 360-megawatt light water nuclear plant had begun, Fars reported.
That plant, he said, will use fuel manufactured in Iran by Iranian specialists -- something that would involve the enrichment of uranium. The United States and the European Union have claimed Iran intends to enrich uranium to build nuclear weapons and have threatened to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its uranium enrichment program.
Iran denies working toward nuclear weapons, saying its goal is to produce civilian energy and it has a right to enrich uranium. Talks between Iran and the so-called "EU 3" -- Britain, France and Germany -- on the matter stalled in August.
Aghazadeh didn't say when uranium could be enriched at the Darkhoin plant but said the plant will take seven years to build.
Journalist Shirzad Bozorgmehr contributed to this report.
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