Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted on Wednesday that Iran’s “economy and centrifuges are spinning faster.”
The statement comes amid growing tensions between the US and Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that Iran may have undisclosed nuclear material, and there are increasing demands for inspections and warnings about advanced centrifuges at Natanz and Fordow.
Europe is pushing for an IAEA resolution on Iran, despite Russia and Iranian warnings. Iran won’t meet with the US or Europeans unless sanctions are lifted by Washington. France and US allies are ready to get tough on Iran. Iran has sent its militias in Iraq to attack the US in recent weeks and likely targeted an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman.
Rouhani said that “today, both our economy and centrifuges are spinning better.” We see that our economy is spinning better, and on the other hand, centrifuges are spinning better, so we can grow more in the nuclear industry, which is important to us, and legitimize this industry, he said, according to Fars News Agency.
He then mentioned that Iran has numerous types of centrifuges, including how “once upon a time” Iran only had IR-1, but now it has IR-2, IR-4, IR-6 and IR-8. IR-6 and IR-8 can enrich uranium more quickly. Iran’s IR-1 was based on Pakistan’s P-1 centrifuge from the 1980s.
In the past, some reports have said that elements of the centrifuges have failed. Iran has informed the IAEA that it would transfer cascades of advanced centrifuges underground at Natanz. Rouhani mentioned that Iran is spinning the IR-9 centrifuges as well, and linked it to Iran’s economic success.
It was not clear why he referenced the centrifuges in the speech. It was used as an example of economic success; but with tensions rising in the region, it appeared as a kind of matador’s red cape to the IAEA and US concerns.