Iran: Nuclear enrichment advances with 'intensity'

Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's nuclear chief says uranium enrichment will move ahead with "intensity" with a sharp increase in the number of centrifuges used to make the nuclear fuel.

Wednesday's statement attributed to Fereidoun Abbasi by state TV is likely to escalate tensions between Iran and the West, which fears the enrichment program could lead to warhead-grade material. Iran says it only seeks to make fuel for energy and research reactors.

But it appears unlikely that the stepped up work would be at higher enrichment levels than already acknowledged to U.N. nuclear watchdogs.

The remarks come days after the U.N. agency said Iran is poised to double its output of higher-enriched uranium at its fortified Fordo underground uranium enrichment facility, which could put Tehran closer to possible warhead capabilities.

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