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U.N. watchdog: New centrifuges at Natanz advance Iran toward nuclear weapon

JTA

February 21, 2013 | 4:56 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, 217 miles south of Tehran, on April 8, 2008. Photo by Presidential official website/Reuters

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, 217 miles south of Tehran, on April 8, 2008. Photo by Presidential official website/Reuters

Iran has installed centrifuges at its largest nuclear enrichment plant that could be used to produce radioactive material for a nuclear weapon, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency released a report Thursday claiming the Islamic Republic had recently installed 180 advanced IR-2m centrifuges at its plant in Natanz.

According to the report circulated among its 35-nation members, the centrifuges can produce between three to five times more material than the ones now being used there.

Israel said the report was evidence that Iran is continuing to "advance swiftly towards the red line that the prime minister drew in his speech at the United Nations." The British Foreign Office said the IAEA's findings were cause for "serious concern."

Tehran claims its nuclear program is needed for peaceful purposes.

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