Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi rejected western media reports alleging that Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) have agreed on the number of the centrifuges that Iran will keep under a final nuclear deal.
“The report is not true at all and people shouldn’t care for the western media’s hues and cries which are made with different motives; based on what has happened in the negotiations, no number has been agreed on and I don’t confirm the numbers (of centrifuges) that they speak about,” Araqchi said in an interview with Iran’s state-run radio on Saturday night.
He reminded the initial agreement made under the Geneva interim deal, and said, “Iran has accepted not to add any more centrifuge machines to its present number and work with the existing centrifuges and therefore, we stopped 20% grade enrichment and oxidized the produced materials or diluted them and also agreed with some inspection measures.”
Araqchi, meantime, stressed that if Iran and the powers don’t reach an agreement by November 24, all the measures adopted by Iran will be annulled and previous activities will be resumed.
Yet, he expressed the hope that the two sides could reach a comprehensive deal by the last week of November so that all problems would be resolved and all the sanctions against Tehran would be removed.
Al-Monitor alleged in a Friday report that Iran is willing to reduce the number of its centrifuge machines to 7,000. The report quoted an unnamed Iranian source as saying that Iran might be willing to scale down from 10,000 centrifuges to 7,000, which would entail a breakout period of about six months.
Much will depend on the duration of a deal and how long any restrictions on the Iranian program would remain in place, added the report.
In response, sources privy to the Iranian team of negotiators in the nuclear talks with the world powers denied the reports that Tehran might be willing to scale down the number of centrifuge machines that it wants to keep.
“No agreement has been struck over the issues which are under negotiation,” a source close to the Iranian team told FNA on Saturday.
In a relevant development in July, the Iranian legislators in a statement appreciated the country’s negotiators in nuclear talks with the six world powers, and meantime stressed that any final deal with the sextet should endorse Iran’s use of enough centrifuge machines to produce its needed 190,000 SWUs (Separative Work Units) enrichment capacity for fueling Iran’s power and research reactors.
“As the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution explicitly announced, the country needs 190,000 SWUs for producing fuel for its nuclear power plants, (therefore) the negotiating team should avoid (inking) any agreement which will be different from this amount or lead to pressures by the Group 5+1 or any ambiguities in the future,” the statement read by member of the parliament’s Presiding Board Zarqam Sadeqi stressed.
The statement also stressed the necessity for continued nuclear research and development (R&D) works in Iran, and said, “Fordo as an enrichment and R&D center is necessary for the country and should be kept.”
The Iranian MPs also reiterated the necessity for the simultaneous removal of all sanctions against Iran, the normalization of Tehran’s nuclear case and the country’s use of its rights and advantages based on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The statement was issued over a week after Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei rejected the world powers’ demand from Iran to suffice to 10,000 SWUs for enriching uranium, and underlined, “According to the relevant (Iranian) officials the country definitely needs 190,000 SWUs.”
Also one day after Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi lashed out at the western media lies and fabrications about Iran’s demanded number of centrifuge machines during the talks with the world powers in Vienna, and said Iran was in need of 190,000 SWUs to fuel its power and research reactors.
“We need almost 190,000 SWUs for an agreed time interval, meaning the next 8 years, to provide fuel for Bushehr nuclear power plant so that we can provide the fuel for this power plant, Tehran research reactor and Arak reactor after the end of our contract with Russia (which has built Bushehr nuclear power plant),” Salehi told FNA.
“We don’t define enrichment on the basis of the centrifuge machines, but on the basis of its unit, that is SWUs,” he explained.
Salehi underlined that the number of centrifuges needed for having 190,000 SWUs depended on the type of the centrifuge machines.
He said Iran’s first generation IR1 centrifuge machines had a nominal output of over 3 SWUs, but in practice they yielded less than 2 SWUs, meaning that “if we want to reach the above-mentioned 190,000 SWUs with the help of these (IR1) machines, then we would need more numbers, while if we use the (the fourth generation) IR4 centrifuge machines which yield 24 SWUs, then we would need less than 10,000 centrifuge machines”.
“Thus, the hues and cries about the number of centrifuges are deliberate deviations from the reality as we have defined our needs based on SWUs, and not on the basis of centrifuge machines,” Salehi said.
He also reiterated that Iran needed centrifuges with 190,000 SWUs to supply the annual needs of its nuclear power plant in Bushehr.