TEHRAN — Iran unveiled a third generation of domestically built centrifuges yesterday as the Islamic Republic accelerates a uranium enrichment program that has alarmed world powers fearful of the nuclear program’s aims.
The new machines are capable of much faster enrichment than those now being used in Iran’s nuclear facilities, and Iranian officials praised the advancement as a step toward greater self-sufficiency in the face of international sanctions targeted at choking off the nuclear work.
During a ceremony marking Iran’s National Day of Nuclear Technology, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pulled back a white curtain to reveal one of the tall, cylindrical machines to a crowd of assembled dignitaries. The display capped months of announcements about the development of the new machines.
Ahmadinejad declared there was no way back for Iran’s nuclear work despite opposition from the United States and other world powers, though he insisted it had only peaceful aims like power generation.
Iran would remain a nuclear state, he said, “whether enemies want it or not.’’