White House Slams Iran Centrifuge Upgrade as ‘Escalation’

White House 'Not Surprised' by Announcement

The US has responded to a leaked IAEA report on Iran’s plan to install upgraded centrifuges in Natanz as a “further escalation” and a “provocation,” though it added that it was “not surprised” that Iran is doing so.

Iran informed the IAEA of the plan to install its new centrifuges, an improvement on the IR-2 design, though the leaked IAEA memo did not say how many would be installed. They are dramatically more efficient than the existing P-1 centrifuges being used at present.

Iran has been enriching uranium both to produce fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant and in an attempt to produce fuel rods for the aging US-built Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes. All production has been under IAEA supervision and the IAEA has reaffirmed repeatedly for several years that none of the civilian enriched uranium had been diverted to any military purposes.

Despite this, Israel and the United States continue to maintain that the uranium enrichment is part of a nuclear weapons plot. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the latest reports to attack planned negotiations with Iran, saying that while the P5+1 decides where to hold a meeting Iran is “advancing toward obtaining a nuclear bomb.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.