Daily Telegraph: Iran has claimed that its nuclear programme now has 5,000 centrifuges to produce enriched uranium.
The Daily Telegraph
Iran has claimed that its nuclear programme now has 5,000 centrifuges to produce enriched uranium.
In comments that will fuel concern in the West about Iran's nuclear ambitions and capability, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organisation, said: "Now we have 5,000 running centrifuges.
"Suspension of nuclear enrichment is not in our vocabulary."
Uranium enrichment can have both civilian and military purposes. Iran, the world's fourth-largest crude oil producer, maintains that its nuclear programme is aimed at producing electricity so that it can export more oil and gas.
The United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), earlier this month said Iran had 3,800 centrifuges enriching uranium and that another 2,200 were being gradually introduced.
But its figures showed Iran had not boosted the number of centrifuges regularly refining uranium since reaching the 3,800 level in September. The reason for Iran's relatively slow progress was unclear, UN officials said at the time.
Mr Aghazadeh said that Tehran was planning to further expand its enrichment facility at Natanz in central Iran.
Centrifuges are the machines which, when linked together and made to work at their maximum capacity, can enrich uranium to the point that it becomes of sufficient quality to arm a nuclear warhead.
The Tehran government said separately that the country had successfully testfired a Kavoshgar 2 rocket into space – the second time it has done so this year.