File photo shows an Iranian technician checking the grounds at Natanz enrichment facility.
The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says new centrifuges have been installed at Natanz enrichment facility since one month ago.
Fereydoun Abbasi made the remark on Wednesday as inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Tehran for a new round of talks over Iran’s nuclear energy program.
“In order to reach industrial-scale [nuclear fuel] production, we have to install a large number of these devices (centrifuges). The installation of new centrifuges at Natanz site started nearly one month ago. We plan to double their number in order to complete a lab related to the new generation [of centrifuges],” Abbasi said.
“These centrifuges have been developed for enrichment below five percent and they cannot be used in 20-percent enrichment,” he added.
Abbasi also criticized IAEA inspectors for letting confidential information out after visiting Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“Three to four days after IAEA experts reported the installation of these [new] centrifuges to the Agency, their information was given to Western media which cited their source as an IAEA expert. This shows that information is easily leaked from the Agency.”
Abbasi stressed that some IAEA employees are on the payroll of their countries of origin and provide secret information at their disposal to their countries' intelligence services, and media. “We have warned Mr. [Yukiya] Amano [director general of IAEA] that this problem should be solved.”
He went on to say that Iran has already produced 12 nuclear fuel assemblies.
“We are doing this because of our need for 20-percent fuel and we will gradually transform our 20-percent enriched uranium to powder and then shape them into fuel assemblies for nuclear reactors,” he said.
The US, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear program has been diverted toward military objectives.