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Iran says it will produce thousands of new-generation centrifuges capable of enriching uranium.
Iranian nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi said Sunday that the Islamic Republic is starting work on over 3,000 new generation centrifuges, according to local media cited by the Associated Press.
The centrifuges can be used to enrich uranium, adding to Western concerns that the theocratic Islamic nation is pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.
"The final production line of these [older-generation] centrifuges has reached an end and soon the early generations of these [advanced] centrifuges with low efficiency will be set aside," the country's semi-official Fars news agency paraphrased Abbasi as saying on Sunday, reported the AP.
Iran is believed to already have over 12,000 older-generation IR-1 centrifuges capable of enriching uranium at its Natanz facility, said Reuters. Abbasi said the new centrifuges were finished but provided no additional details, the AP said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency announced last month that Iran had installed 180 new-generation centrifuges but said they were not yet in operation, according to Reuters. The nuclear watchdog also confirmed that the facility was capable of holding an additional 3,000 centrifuges.
The older generation of centrifuges are based on 1970s technology. Iran has been actively pursuing more advanced production capability.