Iran underground lab helps produce more low-enriched uranium

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- The head of Iran's nuclear program told The Associated Press on Monday that the country is now producing more low-enriched uranium daily, after restarting an underground lab.

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Ali Akbar Salehi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran made the comments as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also called on hard-liners to support the country's troubled nuclear deal, saying it could open up international arms sales for the Islamic Republic next year.

Iran has broken out of the accord's limits since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord between Tehran and world powers over a year ago.

Salehi told AP journalists in Tehran that now the country is producing at least 12 pounds. That's compared to what Tehran had been producing -- about 1 pound of low-enriched uranium per day.

Salehi said that's due in part to restarting enrichment at Iran's underground Fordo nuclear facility.

Meanwhile, Rouhani gave a speech on Monday in the city of Rafsanjan in Iran's southwest Kerman province, talking about the arms embargo the country now faces.

"If we save the nuclear deal, Iran's arms embargo will be lifted and we can buy weapons or sell our weapons to the world. This is one of the deal's significant impacts," Rouhani said.

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The end of the weapons embargo, imposed by the United Nations, already worries the Trump administration.