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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. skeptical about Iranian nuclear enrichment plans

RIA Novosti


WASHINGTON, April 20 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. administration was skeptical about the recently announced Iranian plans to built more nuclear enrichment sites.

Iran's senior presidential adviser, Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, told the ILNA news agency on Monday that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had chosen the locations of new nuclear enrichment facilities, despite the ongoing pressure from the West to scrap its nuclear program.

He also said construction at these sites will begin "with his [Ahmadinejad's] order," but did not specify the number of facilities to be built.

"As is often the case, the rhetoric of Iran and their nuclear program does not always meet the reality of what they are capable of," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told a media briefing on Monday.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad late last year set a goal of producing about 250-300 metric tons of nuclear fuel annually. Ten new enrichment facilities will be built in the country soon.

The Iranian authorities have said more than once that the country needs 50,000 centrifuges in order to supply its future nuclear power plants with fuel.

Iran's recent move to begin enriching uranium to 20% sparked a new wave of international criticism, with the United States leading calls for new harsher sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

On April 9 Iran announced that it had tested its third generation of enrichment centrifuges. The new centrifuges, each 200 millimeters in diameter, are ten times as powerful as the ones operating at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

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