Report: Iran to install 54,000 centrifuges

Iran Materials 29 August 2008 14:04 (UTC +04:00)

Iran plans to install 54,000 centrifuges at the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz in central Iran, the news network Khabar reported Friday on its news ticker.

Iran moves towards large-scale uranium enrichment in Natanz involving 54,000 centrifuges, Khabar reported without giving further details, reported dpa.

Deputy foreign minister Alireza Sheikh-Attar had said earlier Friday that Iran has 4,000 operational centrifuges in Natanz.

Official news agency IRNA quoted the minister as saying that almost 4,000 centrifuges were operating in Natanz and 3,000 more were in the stage of installation.

The remarks by Sheikh-Attar, who according to IRNA is to become Iran's next ambassador to Germany, contradicts last month's claims by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that out of the 6,000 new centrifuges, 5,000 have become operational.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has so far confirmed that about 3,000 to 3,500 centrifuges were operational at the Natanz plant. Iranian claims of the number of centrifuges often do not match IAEA reports.

Centrifuges are used for enriching uranium and if the enrichment percentage is low, the uranium could be used merely for nuclear fuel, but at a higher percentage it could also be used - as feared by the West and denied by Tehran - to make an atomic bomb.