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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Approves Bill Requiring Nuclear Fuel Development

TEHRAN, Iran -- Parliament voted Sunday to require the government to develop its nuclear fuel cycle, as the government shifted pressure onto Europe by saying it was giving it a "last chance" in nuclear talks as an international showdown over Iran's atomic intentions is brewing.

The bill, approved by 188 of the 205 deputies attending the session, does not force the government to immediately resume uranium enrichment, but it pressures it not to give up its controversial nuclear program, including uranium enrichment.

Iran says its program is for peaceful energy purposes, but Washington leads international concerns Iran wants to build atomic bombs.

"We are entering injury time," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters later.

He said the government will give Europeans a "last chance" in negotiations to avert a nuclear crisis before it resumes uranium reprocessing activities at Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility in central Iran.

Iran suspended some uranium reprocessing activities last November under international pressure.

The legislation comes at a sensitive time, with the European Union threatening to take Iran to the UN Security Council for sanctions if it resumes suspended activities.

The legislation was viewed as strengthening the government's hand in negotiations with EU representatives, demonstrating domestic pressure to pursue its nuclear program.

"The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is required to pursue, within the framework of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, peaceful use of nuclear energy, including the cycle of nuclear fuel," said the legislation, adopted in a session broadcast on state-run Tehran radio.

The legislation needs the approval of the Guardian Council to become law. No date has been set for the decision, but it is widely expected that it will approve the measure.