Middle East

Iran defends development of advanced centriguges

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (L) speaks to the press during his meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano (unseen) in Tehran on November 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE

TEHRAN: Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi on Saturday defended Tehran's "right" to carry out research on advanced centrifuges, media reported.

Iran and world powers agreed Friday on how to implement a landmark deal reached in November on containing Tehran's nuclear programme, but it must still be approved by each country before it can take effect.

"Advanced centrifuges, which are Iran's right (to use), were one of the points of disagreement raised by the other party," Salehi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

Under the November deal, Tehran agreed to curb parts of its nuclear drive for six months in exchange for receiving modest relief from international sanctions and a promise by Western powers not to impose new measures against its hard-hit economy.

In August, Iran said it has about 19,000 centrifuges, including 1,000 of new P-2 generation, confirming figures from the UN watchdog overseeing its disputed nuclear drive.

Iran is also developing newer generation of centrifuges which are more powerful than the previous ones.

Western nations and Israel have long suspected Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian programme, a charge Tehran denies.

Two days of talks between high-level Iranian and EU negotiators ended in Geneva Friday with "very good progress on all the pertinent issues," said Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The EU represents the so-called P5 1 group of world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- in the decade-long nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Iran's deputy chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, said "we found solutions for all the points of disagreement."





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