Washington: With Iran set to install advanced centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear plant, the United States on Thursday said that this would allow Tehran to increase its stockpiles well beyond the civilian need.
"We`ve seen these reports that Iran has announced its intention to install advanced centrifuges in the production unit at Natanz. Frankly this does not come as a surprise to us, given the IAEA reports on Iran`s development of advanced centrifuges," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference.
"The fact remains that the installation of new advanced centrifuges would be a further escalation, and a continuing violation of Iran`s obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and IAEA Board resolutions. So it would mark yet another provocative step," she said.
"But there is another path here. There is the diplomatic path. We have P-5-Plus-1 talks with the Iranians next week. They have an opportunity to come to those talks ready to be serious, ready to allay the international community`s concerns, and we hope that they take that opportunity," Nuland said.
The United States is concerned about the recent Iranian activities, she said.
"We`re obviously concerned that Iran continues to flout its international obligations and has refused to halt its enrichment activities and in fact is taking steps to expand its capacity," she said.
"It already has enough uranium to fuel the Tehran research reactor for at least a decade, and its recent actions would allow it to increase its stockpiles well beyond the civilian need," she said.
"So this will obviously be a subject that we have to talk about in Almaty conference because it`s very hard for the international community to understand what Iran is doing when it claims that all of this is peaceful," she said.
Responding to a question on such an Iranian move ahead of an important conference, Nuland said this pattern is not new.
"We`ve seen this before, that in advance of diplomatic rounds there`re new announcements of activity. It doesn`t make it any easier to get where we want to go, which is to have the diplomacy lead to a real process of Iran making it clear to the international community that it`s prepared to meet its obligations," Nuland said.