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Iran lawmakers draft uranium-enrichment bill

By Dana Ford, CNN
updated 5:40 AM EST, Thu December 26, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama at the Saban Forum at the Willard Hotel on December 7, 2013 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Barack Obama at the Saban Forum at the Willard Hotel on December 7, 2013 in Washington, DC.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The move comes less than a week after legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate
  • U.S., others believe Iran is attempting to build a bomb through uranium enrichment
  • Tehran says its nuclear intentions are peaceful

(CNN) -- Iranian lawmakers have drafted a bill that would force the government to enrich uranium up to 60% if new sanctions are imposed, state media reported Wednesday.

The move comes less than a week after bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would authorize new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches an interim agreement to limit its nuclear program or fails to strike a final accord terminating those ambitions.

"If the bill is approved, the government will be obliged to complete nuclear infrastructure at Fordo and Natanz (facilities) if sanctions (against Iran) are ratcheted up, new sanctions are imposed, the country's nuclear rights are violated and the Islamic Republic of Iran's peaceful nuclear rights are ignored by members of P5+1," state-run Press TV reported lawmaker Seyyed Mehdi Mousavinejad said. The so-called P5+1 is the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany.

The draft bill was signed by 100 legislators, Press TV said.

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A six-month agreement struck in November among the United States, other world powers and Iran calls for Tehran to start limiting its nuclear activities in return for a relaxation of sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Talks are under way on a permanent agreement, and the outcome is uncertain.

The Senate proposal emerged despite Obama administration appeals for Congress to defer pursuing new sanctions with diplomatic efforts ongoing.

The White House said new sanctions would undermine those delicate efforts on the global stage and President Barack Obama would veto the legislation if Congress were to approve it now.

The proposal would give Obama more than a year to engage in further diplomacy before any new sanctions would kick in against Iran's oil exports and other key areas of its economy.

Sanctions would hit sooner if Iran cheats on the interim deal or fails to reach a final accord.

The Obama administration has said the centerpiece of its policy is for Iran to not achieve a nuclear weapon.

The United States and other western powers believe Iran is attempting to build a bomb through uranium enrichment. But Tehran says its nuclear intentions are peaceful.

READ: Iran reaches nuclear deal with world leaders -- now what?

READ: 5 reasons diverse critics oppose Iran nuclear deal

CNN's Jim Sciutto contributed to this report.

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