iran heavy water 298 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that his country expanded its contentious uranium enrichment program at a plant in central Iran, a semi-official news agency reported.
"We have started installing 3,000 centrifuges," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.
"This is the first step toward industrial production. We will be able to produce our nuclear fuel once we install 60,000 centrifuges," he said, speaking to a group of students in the Iranian capital.
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Ahmadinejad boasted last month that Iran would soon celebrate, probably in February, the completion of its nuclear fuel cycle program - from mining uranium ore to enriching it.
The hard-line president also claimed that the international community was caving in to Teheran's demands to continue its nuclear program.
"Resistance of the Iranian nation in the past year forced them to retreat tens of steps over the Iran's nuclear issue," the agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. Fars is considered to be close to Iran's hard-line elite Revolutionary Guards.
The United States and its European allies have been seeking a UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Teheran for refusing to suspend enrichment. But Russia and China have opposed tough action advocated by the US, Britain, Germany and France and the Security Council appears to have reached a standstill on the issue.
On Friday, key European nations circulated a revised UN resolution that narrowed the proposed sanctions on Iran in a bid to win Russian and Chinese support. The new draft would ban the supply of materials and technology that could contribute to Iran's program, but it gave much greater detail on what items would be prohibited.