Iranian official: Iran operating more centrifuges than before

Iranian official: Iran operating more centrifuges than before

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) on Monday unveiled a chain of 30 advanced IR6 centrifuges. It allowed Iran to refine uranium only with first-generation IR-1 centrifuges.

On November 4, 1979, less than nine months after the toppling of Iran's American-backed shah, Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi, students overran the embassy complex to demand the U.S. hand over the overthrown ruler after he was admitted to an American hospital. An IR-6 centrifuge can enrich uranium 10 times faster than the IR-1s.

By starting up these advanced centrifuges, Iran further cuts into the one year that experts estimate Tehran would need to have enough material for building a nuclear weapon - if it chose to pursue one. The two countries have been enemies ever since.

Maas said Iran's decision Monday to operate a greater number of advanced centrifuges "unacceptable". Cascades of the same size and type were scrapped under the deal.

Iran previously has broken through its stockpile and enrichment limitations, trying to pressure Europe to offer it a new deal, more than a year since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from the accord. Iranian media only reported a "protest outside" of the diplomatic post, adding that things had returned to normal. On Sunday, the leader reiterated that Iran will never engage in talks with the USA and will not yield to the "maximum pressure campaign".

Khamenei has banned Iranian officials from holding such talks unless the U.S. returns to the nuclear deal and lifts all sanctions.

Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, repeated his opposition to talks with the U.S. In October, he had said negotiations with the U.S. would not take place unless Washington returned to the nuclear deal by lifting its sanctions.

"A few months after the takeover, it appeared to be turning into a rotten fruit hanging down from a tree and no one had the courage to take it down and resolve the matter".

In the capital Tehran, the demonstrators gathered outside the former USA embassy, now called "den of espionage", carrying placards for the condemnation of US policies against Iran.

"Today's anniversary is a reminder that we are dealing today with the same regime that sprang up 40 years ago, the same regime our diplomats encountered so long ago", said a senior administration official, referring to the 1979 student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in which more than 50 diplomats and military guards were held captive for 444 days.

The Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that the negotiations with the United States should be prohibited to block Americans' infiltration into the country.

Iran has downed a US drone in the Persian Gulf, and the administration has blamed it for attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

Tehran denies it launched the cruise missiles and drone attacks.

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