Iran has 3,000-4,000 active centrifuges for enrichment, parliament speaker says
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Iran has 3,000-4,000 active centrifuges for enrichment, parliament speaker says

Figure is down from 9,000 before 2015 nuclear deal, says Ali Larijani, in rare disclosure of operations

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, March 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, March 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iran has 3,000 to 4,000 active centrifuge machines for uranium enrichment, its parliament speaker said.

The number of operating machines is down from the 9,000 the Islamic Republic had running before it signed the 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said in a rare admission of actual numbers of centrifuges.

The current number of active centrifuge machines is well under the ceiling agreed to in the nuclear deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, Larijani told a meeting of clerics. He spoke in Iran’s southwestern province of Fars, the Iranian Tasnim News Agency reported.

The 2015 accord had been signed with Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany. The United States under President Donald Trump announced in May that it would withdraw from the nuclear deal.

Larijani in his remarks accused the US and “the Zionist regime of Israel” of plotting against Iran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday verified Iran’s full compliance with the terms of the JCPOA.

On Wednesday, Iran’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Kazem Gharibabadi, called on the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal to ensure that the deal serves the Islamic Republic’s interests.

Screen capture from video showing Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, right, and three Iranian produced uranium enrichment centrifuges in the background. (YouTube)

“While Iran has continued its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in an effective way based on goodwill, unfortunately, our interests have not been fully served based on what has been mentioned in the nuclear deal,” Gharibabadi said in an address to the IAEA Board of Governors meeting in the city.

He said Iran has behaved responsibly and fulfilled its obligations so far, unlike the United States, which left the deal and reimposed economic sanctions on Iran.

Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear chief said on Sunday that Iran has completed building a facility at the Natanz nuclear plant that will build advanced centrifuge machines, Reuters reported, citing official state media.

The official IRNA news agency on Sunday quoted Ali Akbar Salehi as saying that Ayatollah Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, “had ordered us to set up and complete a very advanced hall for the construction of modern centrifuges, and this hall has now been fully equipped and set up.”

Khamenei in June reportedly ordered preparations to increase the country’s uranium enrichment capacity if the nuclear agreement with the world powers collapsed.

A senior Israeli minister threatened Iran on Wednesday with military action if it furthers its nuclear development.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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