Iran Running 3,000 Centrifuges, Ahmadinejad SaysIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today that his nation is operating 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges, a milestone in a nuclear program that Western powers suspect could be aimed at nuclear weapons development, the Associated Press reported.
Iran Slows Centrifuge Work, Starts New TunnelsRecent satellite photos show that Iran has begun to excavate a tunnel facility within a mountain next to its Natanz centrifuge facilit. These images were released today by the Institute for Science and International Security. Photographs of the area taken in January showed no activity in the mountains, but images taken June 11 show new roads leading to possible tunnel entrances, the ISIS analysis says.
The construction has raised concerns at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Vienna-based U.N. watchdog that monitors Iran's nuclear program. On Friday, an IAEA spokeswoman confirmed that the agency has broached the subject with Iranian officials. "We have been in contact with the Iranian authorities about this, and we have received clarifications," said Melissa Fleming, the spokeswoman. She declined to elaborate.
For more analysis, visit armscontrolwonk.com. [via Washington Post]
Iran Turns Away IAEA InspectorsIran turned away international nuclear officials last month when they tried to conduct a surprise inspection of Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges, Agence France-Presse reported today.
The International Atomic Energy Agency personnel were denied access April 21 to a room containing the centrifuges despite an earlier Iranian promise to cooperate with unannounced visits, diplomats said. [via Nuclear Threat Initiative]
U.N. says Iran plans nuclear developmentIran plans to start installing thousands of centrifuges in an underground facility next month, U.N. officials said Friday, paving the way to large-scale uranium enrichment, a potential way of making nuclear weapons.
Iran ultimately plans to expand its enrichment program to 54,000 centrifuges, which spin uranium gas into enriched material to produce nuclear fuel. That would give it the capacity to produce dozens of nuclear warheads a year, if it chose to develop weapons.
Diplomats briefed on the IAEA's latest findings said earlier this month the Iranians recently finished all pre-assembly work at their Natanz facility, which is underground as protection against attack. And senior Iranian officials have repeatedly said recently that large-scale installation work at Natanz would begin soon. [via Yahoo! News]