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APNewsBreak: Diplomats: Iran ups nuke technology

Wednesday - 4/17/2013, 5:16pm  ET

TO GO WITH STORY IRAN NUCLEAR -FILE- In this April 9, 2007, file photo, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a ceremony in Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, south of capital Tehran, Iran. Technicians upgrading Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility have tripled partial or full installations of high-tech machines that could be used in a nuclear weapons program to more than 600 since starting their work three months ago, according to diplomats who demanded anonymity because they said they are not authorized to disclose the information, Wednesday April 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian, File)

Associated Press

VIENNA (AP) -- Technicians upgrading Iran's main uranium enrichment facility have tripled their installations of high-tech machines that could be used in a nuclear weapons program to more than 600 in the last three months, diplomats said Wednesday.

They say the machines are not yet producing enriched uranium and some may be only partially installed. Still the move is the latest sign that 10 years of diplomatic efforts have failed to persuade Tehran to curb its uranium enrichment. Instead, Iran continues to increase its capacities.

The installations also suggest that Iran possesses both the technology to mass-produce centrifuges that can enrich much faster than its present machines and the ability to evade international sanctions meant to keep it from getting materials it needs to do so.

The Islamic Republic insists it has no interest in nuclear weapons and says it's enriching uranium only for nuclear power and other non-military applications. Iran also asserts it has a right to do so under international law.

But the United States, Israel and their allies fear Iran may use the technology to create weapons-level uranium that can be used in an atomic bomb. They base their concerns on Tehran's nuclear secrecy and suspicions they share with the International Atomic Energy Agency
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