|‘Iran has installed 18,000 centrifuges’||
TEHRAN -- Iran has installed 18,000 centrifuges at its nuclear facilities, a former nuclear official announced on Saturday.
More than 10,000 centrifuges are currently operating, and 7,000 are ready to start operation, Fereydoun Abbasi, the former director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said, referring to first-generation centrifuges, which are known as IR-1.
According to Reuters, a May report from the International Atomic Energy Agency indicated that Iran had by then installed roughly 16,600 IR-1 machines in two separate facilities.
“We also have 1,000 new-generation centrifuge machines (IR-2m) which have been designed and manufactured inside the country and are ready to start operation,” Abbasi said during a ceremony in which he handed over his post to Ali Akbar Salehi, who was recently appointed by new Iranian President Hassan Rohani.
The UN nuclear watchdog in its last report in May said Iran had installed a total of 689 IR-2m centrifuges and empty centrifuge casings, according to Reuters.
Abbasi also said, “9,000 centrifuges are enriching uranium to less than 5 percent at the Natanz site, and 700 centrifuges are simultaneously enriching uranium to 20 percent at Natanz and Fordo facilities.”
The main bone of contention between Tehran and the West is Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
Iran says all its nuclear activities are totally peaceful, and, as an IAEA member and a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has the legal right to produce nuclear fuel for its research reactors and nuclear power plants.
The West claims Iran may be seeking to develop the means to produce nuclear weapons.
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