Iran said on Tuesday (April 9) it had started production at two uranium mines and a yellow cake plant, declaring that Western opposition would not slow its nuclear programme days after talks between Tehran and world powers failed to reach an accord.

The country opened the Saghand 1 and 2 uranium mines in the central city of Yazd, which will extract uranium from a depth of 350 metres, and the Shahid Rezaeinejad yellow cake plant at Ardakan to mark Iran's National Nuclear Technology Day, state news agency IRNA said.

The Ardakan plant is capable of producing 60 tonnes of yellow cake - raw uranium - annually, IRNA said.

The United States and some allies suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability but Iran says its atomic programme, including its enrichment of uranium, is for purely peaceful purposes. Talks between Iran and world powers held in Kazakhstan last week failed to reach a breakthrough.

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