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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Says it has 3,000 Centrifuges

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Iran had met a planned target of installing and running 3,000 atomic centrifuges used in enriching uranium, Iranian news agencies reported.

Iran had said it aimed to have that many centrifuges, which are set up in interlinked networks, or "cascades," of 164 machines each, by the end of July. Diplomats in Vienna have said Iran appeared to have fewer than the target of 3,000 operating.

The diplomats have also said Iran's nuclear work appeared to have slowed down during the summer, possibly due to technical glitches or for fear of spurring world powers to pass a third UN sanctions resolution. Iran has denied any slowdown.

"We have more than 3,000 centrifuges working, and every week a new set is installed," the president was quoted as saying.

Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to build atomic weapons and are particularly concerned about progress in the country's enrichment program because the process can be used to make fuel for power plants or bomb material.

Western experts say 3,000 centrifuges operating nonstop and without glitches could make enough material for one bomb in about a year.

Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, says it wants to master nuclear technology so it can generate electricity and save its oil and gas resources for exports.