Diplomats: Iran installed more enrichment centrifuges

IAEA report expected to show that Iran has increased uranium enrichment capabilities at underground Fordow site, according to Western diplomats; report likely to be seen as sign of defiance amid ongoing IAEA, P5+1 talks.

May 23, 2012 22:24
3 minute read.
UN offices in Vienna

UN offices in Vienna 370. (photo credit: Thinkstock)

VIENNA - A UN watchdog report is expected to show that Iran has installed more uranium enrichment centrifuges at an underground site, potentially boosting output capacity of nuclear work major powers want it to stop, Western diplomatic sources say.

Two sources said the Islamic state may have placed in position nearly 350 machines since February - in addition to the almost 700 centrifuges already operating at the Fordow facility - but that they were not yet being used to refine uranium.

If confirmed in the next quarterly report on Iran's nuclear program by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, tentatively expected on Friday, it is likely to be seen as a sign of continued defiance by the Islamic state of international demands to suspend such activity. Iran is currently engaged in

Tehran denies Western accusations of a nuclear weapons agenda and says it has a sovereign right to peaceful nuclear technology, repeatedly rejecting UN resolutions calling for a suspension of all uranium enrichment.

But it has at times appeared more flexible when it comes to the refinement of uranium to 20 percent and experts say that initially getting Iran to stop this work could open a way to ease the deadlock.

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