Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has exposed the widening gulf between Tehran and world powers in nuclear negotiations by declaring that the regime needs to 'significantly increase' its number of centrifuges.
Under their self-imposed July 20 deadline for a deal, the Iranian regime and the P5+1 nations have less than two weeks to reach an agreement on the future scope of Iran’s uranium enrichment programme.
Iran’s enrichment capacity lies at the centre of the nuclear stalemate and is seen as the hardest issue to resolve.
But Ali Khamenei said in a statement published on his website on Monday: "Their aim is that we accept a capacity of 10,000 reparative work units (SWUs), which is equivalent to 10,000 centrifuges of the older type that we already have.
Our officials say we need 190,000 centrifuges. Perhaps this is not a need this year or in two years or five years, but this is the country’s absolute need.
"The P5+1 started bargaining with 500 SWUs, then 1,000 SWUs enrichment capacity. Now they want to convince us to accept 10,000 SWUs."
The regime now claims has more than 19,000 installed enrichment centrifuges, mostly old-generation IR-1 machines, with about 10,000 of them operating to increase the concentration of uranium’s fissile isotope U-235.
When the UN Security Council imposed its first sanctions resolution against the Iranian regime in 2006, it had a few hundred centrifuges that it was testing. The regime has since expanded the number sharply until it stopped doing that under the November 24 interim nuclear deal agreed between the Iranian regime and the world powers.