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Iranian president says 3,000 centrifuges set at Natanz

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Iran's president said Saturday the country had installed 3,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at its pilot nuclear facility at Natanz, moving one step closer to producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.
TEHRAN, December 9 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's president said Saturday the country had installed 3,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at its pilot nuclear facility at Natanz, moving one step closer to producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.

"This is the first step toward Iran's mastering the nuclear fuel cycle," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted by the FARS news agency as saying.

Iran started up a second experimental chain of 164 centrifuge machines at Natanz in October, and said it would have launched a total of 3,000 centrifuges here by next March. The long-term target is 60,000, enough to advance to industrial-scale enrichment.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - and Germany are considering imposing sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt enrichment activity, which they fear may lead to the Islamic Republic obtaining a nuclear bomb.

Iran maintains that its nuclear program is purely civilian and in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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