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Iran capable of nuclear centrifuges mass production - Velayati

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An Iranian high-ranking official said Wednesday his country is capable of mass producing uranium enrichment centrifuges.
TEHRAN, May 2 (RIA Novosti) - An Iranian high-ranking official said Wednesday his country is capable of mass producing uranium enrichment centrifuges.

Iran has been at the center of international concerns over its nuclear program, which some countries, particularly the United States, suspect is geared toward nuclear weapons development. Tehran has consistently denied the claims, saying it needs nuclear power for civilian purposes.

"Once it was difficult for us to produce even one centrifuge, but today we have the technology for their mass production," Ali Akbar Velayati, an advisor to Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in an interview with Iranian newspaper Jomohouri Eslami.

Velayati also said Iran will never give up its nuclear program, adding that "If we back down today on the issue of our 'nuclear dossier', then [the West] will tomorrow have claims on our missile program."

Before April 9, two cascades with 164 centrifuges were officially in operation at the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Mohammad Saidi, deputy chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said earlier the exact number of the centrifuges would be known after nuclear weapons inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, present their report.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously March 24 to impose broader sanctions against the Islamic Republic for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which the country resumed in January 2006 for what it claims to be a civilian nuclear power generating program.

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