Iran steps up nuclear work

Iran announced that it has begun large-scale nuclear fuel production.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s announcement at the Natanz nuclear plant Monday was a fresh snub to the U.N. Security Council’s demand that Iran halt uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to make atomic bombs. Ahmadinejad said his country has begun enriching uranium on an “industrial scale”.

Iran is believed to have around 1,000 enrichment centrifuges at Natanz, and is expected to build 3,000 more in the coming years. With that many centrifuges operating, Iran could have an atomic bomb within months, experts say.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the announcement “another signal that Iran is defying the international community”.

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