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Iran to mass-produce faster centrifuges

Iran’s nuclear chief says second generation centrifuges will soon be mass-produced, stating that the country is moving toward nuclear self-sufficiency.

“We are not in a hurry. Second generation centrifuges will be mass-produced within the next few months,” head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi told ISNA.

The 2nd generation centrifuges are thrice as fast as the ones operating in Natanz.

“In a year, we will have prototype cascades of the third generation,” Salehi said.

On Friday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled the third generation of domestically-built centrifuges that are ten times as fast the operational ones and capable of producing 10 kg (22 lb) of UF6 (uranium-hexafluoride) in a year.

Salehi said the Natanz enrichment plant would host 60,000 new centrifuges as soon as the new types become operational.

The US has attempted to downplay Iran’s nuclear achievements.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Sunday that Iran was “continuing to make progress” in its nuclear program. However, “It’s going slower … than they anticipated. But they are moving in that direction.”

Iran says its nuclear program is for the civilian applications of the technology. The West, however, accuses the country of seeking military objectives in its pursuit.

Salehi said Iran is close to self-reliance in most nuclear fields.

“Fortunately and without exaggeration, Iran has entered [and is making progress] in all nuclear fields,” he added.

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