TEHRAN — Iran announced Monday that it was pressing ahead with their plan to install 3,000 atomic centrifuges and to achieve industrial-scale production of nuclear fuel, accelerating western fears that their plans include a program to make nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.
As an immediate reaction to the U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution passed on Dec. 23, Iran said it would start installing 3,000 centrifuges, which experts say could make enough uranium for power plant fuel, or one bomb within a year.
But western diplomats and analysts had previously told Reuters Iran appeared not to have begun installing the machines for planned “industrial scale” output of enriched uranium.
“We are moving towards production of nuclear fuel which needs 3,000 centrifuges and more than that … This plan is going ahead and is moving towards completion,” government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham told a weekly news conference.
Iran already operates two cascades of 164 centrifuges, which spin at supersonic speeds to enrich uranium.
Iran, which insists its atomic programme has only civilian goals, has an ambitious plan to build 20 nuclear power plants and says it wants to make the required fuel. But its first atomic plant is still under construction.
“We need to produce fuel on an industrial scale for those power plants,” Elham said.
He said Iran’s nuclear activities were being supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but repeated a threat, made by other Iranian officials in the past, to review its position over nuclear cooperation if pushed.
“We have not pulled out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But if they (the West) try to create obstacles then we will change our path as well,” he said.