Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki reportedly told members of the Iranian parliament on Tuesday that Iran would soon announce that it had managed to enrich uranium using 3,000 centrifuges, an Iranian MP told the FARS News Agency on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Iran said it planned to install 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz by the end of 2006. Some 54,000 centrifuges would be required to produce enough nuclear fuel for a reactor.
At the moment, Iran has two working cascades - each consisting of 164 centrifuges - at Natanz with which it claimed in April to have enriched uranium to 3.5 percent. For a bomb, uranium needs to be enriched to 90% or SQ, a nuclear technical term for Significant Quantity.
Although Iran is nowhere near that goal, its successful operation of more cascades of centrifuges indicates that the country is gradually mastering the complexities of producing enriched uranium.
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According to the report, Motakki also told parliamentarians during a closed-door meeting in Teheran that the Iranian government was in favor of a bill introduced on Sunday by parliament, calling to reevaluate Teheran's relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The Iranian government and parliament also discussed the next steps to be taken following the sanctions, the news network Khabar reported.
Mottaki briefed deputies on developments following UN resolution 1737, which imposed a watered-down sanctions package on Iran for defying suspension of its uranium enrichment programs.
The parliament had already proclaimed on Sunday that it would approve a bill obliging the government to revise, reduce or even end cooperation with the IAEA as a sign of Iran's protest to the UN resolution.
The deputy of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Saeidi, however told Khabar on Monday that all nuclear programs would stay under IAEA supervision.
Observers say that even if the parliament approves the bill, it will be a symbolic gesture rather than seriously binding the government as the nuclear issue is regarded in Iran as "state-matter," which means that it is decided at the highest level and in line with national interests.
According to the Iranian constitution, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say on all state affairs, including the nuclear issue, and could anytime overrule governmental and parliamentary decisions.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has termed the UN resolution as "solely a piece of paper" that would not stop Iran's nuclear programs but observers believe that despite the harsh rhetoric, Teheran was still seeking resumption of negotiations with the West through its allies China and Russia.