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By Jared Bennett
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report detailing what it calls “rapid” expansion of Iranian nuclear facilities and expressed concerns regarding the potential military capabilities of the program.
The agency reported almost 700 new and more advanced centrifuges, machines used in the uranium enrichment process to make atomic energy. The report also adds that the Iranian stock of low-enriched uranium increased by 8 percent in months.
The added capabilities come as Iran faces sanctions and the UN Security Council for refusing to stop increasing its nuclear facilities. The IAEA is investigating Western suspicions that the country has begun working towards nuclear weapons.
The international community is especially concerned with an enrichment facility at Natanz. It is the most advanced in the country and already has the capacity to produce uranium that can be used in weapons. Another facility in Arak, in central Iran, has advanced further recently as well. It is now capable of producing “several bombs a year,” according to the IAEA report.
The increase in productivity is especially surprising. A separate report weeks earlier has noted that Iran actually increased production after a massive cyber-attack aimed at its nuclear facilities in 2009.
Iran insists its nuclear program is not intended for military use, but instead of domestic energy. Iranian officials and international supporters claim the sanctions and UN Security Council are illegal actions aimed to disrupt the Islamic Republic.