TEHRAN, April 11 (UPI) -- Fereidoun Abbasi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said the country has succeeded in tripling the separation capacity of its nuclear centrifuges.
The announcement came as Saeed Jalili, head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Tehran plans to offer "new initiatives" at the upcoming talks with P5+1 countries -- the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and the United Kingdom -- scheduled for Friday in Istanbul, Turkey.
The P5+1 countries hope to secure guarantees from Iran that its enrichment of uranium will not be used for military purposes
"Iran's representatives will participate in the negotiations with new initiatives and we hope that the P5+1 countries will also enter the talks with constructive approaches," Jalili told the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Iran, he said, is ready "to hold progressive and successful talks on cooperation."
Speaking at a ceremony in Qom, Abbasi said Iran is enriching uranium to the purity level of 3.5 percent at all its nuclear facilities, the semi-official Fars news agency said Wednesday.
"At present [nuclear] fuel rods and plates are being produced inside the country. At the same time high-power[ed] centrifuges have been used in Natanz [nuclear enrichment facilities] and a 164-set cascade has been set up in the center and therefore the separation capacity of the Iranian [centrifuge] machines has tripled," Abbasi said.
The Fars news agency noted by improving the separation capacity, the speed of fuel production is accelerated, allowing the country to produce larger volumes of fuel.