The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation announced on Tuesday that the Islamic regime had produced a new generation of centrifuges – a week before world powers begin a new round of talks on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Ali-Akbar Salehi said cascades of 10 centrifuges that would increase the rate of uranium enrichment “are being tested”, without giving any timetable on when they would be installed at the underground nuclear facility in Natanz. He did not clarify how many were produced so far.
Although production of new centrifuges is nothing new, it indicates Iran’s intention to keep defying international calls to halt its nuclear programme.
Tehran has announced that it considers the nuclear issue “closed”, but is ready to hold talks about global and regional problems. It recently delivered a proposal to resume talks with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US about various international economic, security and political issues while skipping its nuclear programme.
The six world powers were puzzled with Iran’s move, but they agreed to resume talks on October 1, probably in Turkey, to give diplomatic channels another chance to stop Iran’s nuclear programme.
On Tuesday, Saeed Jalili, the top security official and Iran’s representative in the October talks, said his government sought “collective commitments” to “strengthen peace, justice and progress” in the world.
Western diplomats in Tehran doubt there is any intention in the Islamic regime to slow down the nuclear programme, despite threats that Israel might resort to a military strike against Iran’s nuclear sites.
Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, said on Monday that the Jewish state had not taken the military option off the table.
Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Iran’s fundamentalist president, gave warning at a military parade on Tuesday against any aggression. He vowed to “cut the arm of anyone who pulls the trigger against Iran”