Iran has begun installing next-generation equipment at one of its main
nuclear plants, a new UN atomic agency report said Thursday, five days
before talks with world powers.
"On 6 February 2013, the Agency
observed that Iran had started the installation of IR-2m centrifuges" at
the Natanz plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency report said.
"This is the first time that centrifuges more advanced than the IR-1 have been installed" at the plant in central Iran, it said.
official said that Iran intended to install around 3,000 of the new
centrifuges at Natanz -- where around 12,500 of the older models are
installed -- enabling it to speed up the enrichment of uranium.
process is at the heart of the international community's concerns about
Iran's nuclear programme, since enriched uranium -- at high levels --
can be used in a nuclear weapon.
The new report said that Iran
has so far produced 280 kilos (617 pounds) of 20-percent uranium, of
which around 110 kilos have been diverted to fuel production.
say that around 250 kilos are needed for one bomb, although creating a
weapon requires several other steps and if Iran were to start further
enriching to weapons-grade this would be detected by the IAEA.
report came ahead of a new meeting between Iran and six world powers --
the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- in Kazakhstan on
These talks between the P5+1 and Iran will be the
first since June, when three rounds of meetings last year ended in
stalemate in Moscow.
Iran closer than ever to nuclear bomb: Israel
Israel slammed Iran over the new UN report saying that Tehran is "closer than ever" to the ability to build a nuclear bomb
International Atomic Energy Agency's report said Iran started
installing new and advanced centrifuges at Natanz, which would enable it
to speed up the enrichment of uranium.
Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the report was "severe," and "proves
Iran is continuing to rapidly advance to the red line that the prime
minister drew at his speech in the United Nations." "Iran is closer than
ever today to obtaining enriched material for a nuclear bomb," the
statement read. In a September address to the UN General Assembly,
Netanyahu called for a "clear red line" to stop Iran getting a nuclear
He used a red marker pen to draw a line through a cartoon
diagram of a bomb to illustrate what the international community's limit
for Iran's uranium enrichment program should be.
statement noted that "preventing nuclear arms from Iran will be the
first topic Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss with US
President Barack Obama," expected in Israel in March.
the United States warned Iran that the installation of next-generation
centrifuges at one of its main nuclear plants, as reported by the UN
atomic agency, would be a "provocative step."
"would be a further escalation and a continuing violation of Iran's
obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and IAEA
board resolutions," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
denies seeking atomic weapons but many in the international community
suspect otherwise, and the UN Security Council has passed several
resolutions calling on Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment. /HurriyetDailynews/