Iran Reaches ‘Irreversible’ Nuclear Program Milestone
“We have now reached 3,000 machines,” Ahmadinejad said at a rally, according to the Agence France-Presse. He also said he “could not care less” about U.N. Security Council resolutions opposing the Iranian nuclear program, and that Iran’s “progress is irreversible.”
The centrifuges are located at the underground Natanz nuclear plant.
Scientists and experts have said 3,000 machines could be used to enrich enough uranium for a nuclear bomb in about a year, though Ahmadinejad has consistently denied that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb.
The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it could not confirm Ahmadinejad’s claim.
“Generally, the Iranians have followed through on doing what they said they were going to do,” spokesman Sean McCormack said, according to the Associated Press. “That isn’t to say that I am aware that they have reached the 3,000 centrifuge mark, but they have been very consistent in pushing toward the goals they have laid out for themselves.”
Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China agreed last week in London to pursue a third round of U.N. sanctions against Iran unless changes were made to Iran’s program.
Iran had agreed to answer questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency about past secret nuclear work, and some diplomats were hopeful about the results of talks between Iran and the IAEA.
Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the U.N. atomic watchdog, is set to give an updated report on Iran later this month.
But Ahmadinejad’s comments on Wednesday struck a combative, not cooperative tone.
“They passed resolutions based on wrong information,” Ahmadinejad said, referring to previous U.N. sanctions votes, according to Reuters. “The Iranian nation will never back down, even one iota.”
The United States imposed unilateral economic sanctions on Iran last month and there has been speculation that U.S. officials are weighing the option of military intervention.
The United States blacklisted major Iranian banks and successfully lobbied most European banks to cut ties with Iran.