Iran: Advanced enrichment centrifuges installed

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ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) smile as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) talks to Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim after Iran inked a nuclear fuel swap deal in Tehran in 2010. Iran's nuclear chief said Wednesday his country has begun installing a new generation of uranium enrichment centrifuges at its main facility making nuclear fuel.

Iran's nuclear chief says his country has begun installing a new generation of uranium enrichment centrifuges at its main facility making nuclear fuel.

The announcement coincided with talks Wednesday with senior U.N. nuclear inspectors seeking to expand probes into suspected weapons-related tests. It also could add pressure to planned negotiations later this month between Iran and world powers.

The official IRNA news agency quotes Fereidoun Abbasi as saying that Iran began installing the new centrifuges at Natanz site in central Iran about a month ago. He says they only will be used to produce low-level enriched uranium.

But advanced centrifuges can vastly increase Iran's pace of enrichment, which the West fears could be eventually turned into warhead-grade material. Iran insists it wants nuclear fuel only for energy reactors and research.

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