Iran Still Does Not Have 3,000 Centrifuges

Shocking, I know.

Asked about “Iran’s annoucement”: that it was beginning “industrial-scale” production of enriched uranium, IAEA DG Mohamed ElBaradei, according “to Reuters,”: told reporters that

bq. There are various definitions of industrial scale production. Iran is still at the starting stage of creating a uranium enrichment plant.

More precisely, he said that Iran still only has “hundreds” of centrifuges.

If you don’t wanna take ElBaradei’s word for it, check out what AEOI head Gholamreza Aqazadeh said a few days ago. Asked during an Iranian TV broadcast whether Iran has actually installed 3,000 centrifuges in the Natanz facility, he seemed to say “no.”

Here’s the relevant portion of the interview:

During my comments [earlier in the day about Iran’s centrifuge advances] *I didn’t give a number on purpose and for a number of reasons. The most important reason is that I was worried that if mention was made of the number of centrifuges, some ambiguities would arise regarding whether we planned to only install 3000 centrifuges or more.* This is whilst we have invested and made plans to install 50,000 centrifuges in Natanz. The infrastructure which has been built and all the equipment such as the ventilation, electricity and air conditioning systems, and all the logistical equipment which is needed for this industry, have been built to cover 50000 centrifuges.

He also elaborated on what Iran means by “industrial-stage.” As far as I can tell, the term means that Iran is proceeding with plans to install 50K+ centrifuges. That was, of course, already Tehran’s declared policy.

Aqazadeh said:

*When we announce that we have entered the industrial stage, there are no limitations. I didn’t want this fact to be used as a pretext to say that Iran has now installed 3000 centrifuges and that’s it. No, it’s the opposite. When we enter the industrial stage the installation of equipment continues permanently until the stage where all the 50000 centrifuges are installed.* As a result, I thought that this issue may be misused especially by foreign media and make them think that with the installation of these 3000 centrifuges, Iran’s nuclear case will be closed. This was the main reason why I didn’t mention a number in my speech and talked about entering the industrial stage. The reality is that we have all the necessary infrastructure for the development and completion of the whole programme and God willing, we will continue it.

This “pretext” argument makes no sense to me. I think another quote confirms that Tehran’s announcement was more diplomatic than technical:

[The West] can see that Iran is following this path in a fast pace and with steadfastness. Time is not against us and they can see that clearly. This is why they are issuing resolutions one after another and putting us under pressure to halt this trend and dissuade us. I think stopping this move is a very difficult task.

What happened today in Natanz is an undeniable reality. One cannot deny all these facilities, equipment, installations and production machines; therefore this is a reality. I think *the world should change its literature. After all, it is in their own interest to deal with Iran through interaction, dialogue and confidence-building rather than exerting pressure.*

Get back to work.

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