The White House emphasized on Monday that time is limited for Iran to respond to international demands regarding its alleged nuclear weapons program.

"Time is not infinite" for talks between Iran and the West, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. He added, however, that there is still enough time to reach a diplomatic solution and that the upcoming talks in Istanbul carried much importance.

Carney added that it was was important that Iran understood that the whole world stands behind the UN decisions that Iran is violating. "Our position is clear, Iran must meet its international obligations and stop enriching uranium," Carney stressed.

Earlier Monday, Iran's Atomic Energy Agency chief Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani said that the country would carry out 20 percent uranium enrichment "just for its own needs" and not beyond that, the state-owned IRNA news agency reported Monday.

The nuclear chief said in an interview with state TV on Sunday night that Iran wanted to stockpile the more enriched fuel after it had produced enough, and afterwards would enrich to lower levels.

Abbasi-Davani added that enrichment beyond 20% was not part of the country's long term nuclear goal, IRNA reported.

Iran claims its nuclear program is peaceful, but Israel and the West fear that the Islamic Republic is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, which would require uranium enriched to 90%.

Abbasi added that perhaps this year Iran might build a research reactor for medical isotopes, should the Iranian parliament approve the budget, and that if so the remaining fuel might be used there.


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In the past, Iran has said it is producing the 20% enriched fuel to replenish a small nuclear reactor in Teheran that is used to make medical isotopes.

The atomic energy agency chief said that Iran had begun production of 'virtual' (non-uranium) fuel destined for its Arak heavy water nuclear plant, adding that the Islamic Republic had not undertaken its achievements in virtual fuel and in the creation of a small-scale fuel assembly for "propaganda purposes."

Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report

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