Iran ‘sets up atomic centrifuges’

– Both the US and Israel have said that Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons and Iran has said, essentially, that it will do as it pleases. Unless something significant changes in this equation, things are not going to turn out well.

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Iran has set up more than 300 centrifuges at two uranium enrichment sites at its underground Natanz complex, Western diplomats have said.

If confirmed, the centrifuges would be the first of 3,000 that Iran says it is planning to install at the site in the coming months.

The centrifuges could pave the way for work to create enough fissile material for a nuclear warhead.

Iran has repeatedly denied that it plans to develop nuclear weapons.

Two “cascades” of 164 centrifuges each have been installed at Natanz, the diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

Centrifuges spin uranium gas to enrich it to low levels for fuel and much higher levels for nuclear weapons.

Iran has said it eventually plans to install 54,000 centrifuges at Natanz.

Former UN nuclear inspector David Albright, whose Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security tracks Iran’s nuclear activities, said Iran should be able to reach its goal of 3,000 centrifuges by the end of the year.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies in London (IISS) has said that once Iran has 3,000 centrifuges operating smoothly, it could produce enough highly enriched uranium for one bomb in nine to 11 months.

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