On Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced advances in Iran’s nuclear power productions capabilities including two new types of centrifuges and a nuclear fuel production plant. Ahmadinejad stated that Iranian nuclear authorities “have announced that the various cycles of nuclear fuel management are in our grasp in a comprehensive and domestically produced way.” The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organizationlaimed c that Iran now has approximately “7,000” centrifuges in its Natanz facility. In February, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had only 5,600 centrifuges.
Iran’s new high-speed centrifuges promise to increase Iran’s low-enriched uranium supply. Additionally, a uranium pellet factory will be able to produce a yearly total of 10 tons of fuel rods for various reactors in Iran. The United Nations Security Council has pleaded with Iran to cease its production of nuclear materials that could be used for weapons. However, the Iranian government maintains that it is merely increasing Iran’s supply of energy. In order to create a nuclear weapons program, Iran would have to take the drastic steps of expelling weapons inspectors, withdrawing from international treaties, and creating further enrichment facilities.
In response to the announcement, the White House declared that US government officials would regularly take part in nuclear talks between Iran and Europe, Russia, and China. Under George W. Bush, the United States was not part of these negotiations until last year. State Department spokesman Robert Wood explained, “Iran is entitled to have a civilian nuclear program, but with that program comes responsibilities.”
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