Thursday, October 04, 2007

France: Iran to run nearly 3,000 uranium centrifuges soon

PARIS (AP) — Iran is set to run almost 3,000 centrifuges by the end of the month, nearing the threshold for industrial-scale uranium enrichment in its contested nuclear program, French diplomatic officials said Wednesday.
The revelation, based on a memo from the International Atomic Energy Agency received in Paris on Wednesday, comes as France steps up its campaign for new European Union sanctions against Tehran.

The telegram from IAEA headquarters in Vienna, indicated that the agency believes Iran will have 18 cascades running by the end of October — or the equivalent of just under 3,000 centrifuges, French officials said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

France, the United States and other Western nations fear that Tehran's nuclear program masks designs to build bombs. Iran says its intentions are peaceful, aimed at producing electricity.

Tehran has already declared a goal of operating 3,000 centrifuges, which Western diplomats say would be enough to produce a nuclear bomb per year.

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