TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s nuclear program is “irreversible,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday, voicing continued defiance in the face of possible new international sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Ahmadinejad also reiterated that Iran now has 3,000 centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium. Enriched uranium can fuel power plants but also, if refined further, provide material for bombs.
Western experts say 3,000 machines running smoothly for long periods at supersonic speed could make enough enriched uranium for an atomic bomb in about a year, if Iran wanted, and form the basis for “industrial-scale” nuclear fuel production.
“The Iranian nation has entered the phase of industrial scale of nuclear fuel (production) and the train of the Iranian nation’s progress is irreversible,” Ahmadinejad told a rally in South Khorasan province broadcast live on state television.
“Today, we’ve reached 3,000 centrifuges,” he said.
Ahmadinejad, who like other Iranian leaders rejects U.S. accusations the country is seeking to develop atom bombs, said in September that Iran had “more than 3,000 centrifuges working” and that more were installed every week.