A Blog Written By Roozbeh Mirebrahimi
Published: September 2, 2007
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran is running more than 3,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium and is installing more every week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday, in comments likely to fuel Western fears Tehran is seeking an atomic bomb.Western experts say 3,000 machines running smoothly for long periods at supersonic speeds could make enough enriched uranium for an atomic bomb in about a year, if Iran wanted, and form the basis for “industrial-scale” production of nuclear fuel.But an International Atomic Energy Agency report issued on Friday said Iran remained well short of 3,000 centrifuges and that its rate of enrichment was still far below capacity.The report also indicated the pace of centrifuge installation had slowed markedly since April, when Ahmadinejad first announced “industrial” capacity.Iran has repeatedly dismissed talk of a slowdown.“We have more than 3,000 centrifuges working and every week a new set is installed,” Fars News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. Other Iranian news agencies also carried his comments.Centrifuges are set up in interlinked networks or “cascades” of 164 machines each.
Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, insists its goals are peaceful and says it wants to master technology only to make fuel for a network of atomic power plants it plans.