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Iran's plan for 10 new nuclear fuel plants 'laughably ambitious'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday ordered 10 new uranium enrichment facilities, a plan that one analyst called 'almost laughably ambitious.'

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The BBC’s Jon Leyne described Iran’s plans to have 10 new enrichment facilities operational within the next year as “almost laughably ambitious” given that it’s taken years bring the Natanz facility online and it still experiences problems. Rather than reflecting a major change in the country's nuclear capabilities, Mr. Leyne says the announcements are most likely Mr. Ahmadinejad politicking before antigovernment protests begin this Thursday on the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Republic.

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The opposition Green Movement has been plotting protests for this Thursday for at least last month, reports The Christian Science Monitor.

US officials used Iran’s announcement as an opportunity to call for the continued solidarity of the international community against Iran’s nuclear program. Speaking in Italy, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that there is still time for sanctions to work and military action will most likely be unnecessary, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“If the international community will stand together and bring pressure to bear on the Iranian government, I believe there is still time for sanctions and pressure to work,” Mr. Gates said following meetings with his Italian counterpart. “But we must all work together.”

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