Report: Obama Raises 'Centrifuge Ceiling' in Iran

Number of centrifuges allegedly raised from 4,000 to 6,000 - as Obama is rumored to be desperate to strike a deal.

Tova Dvorin,

Iranian centrifuges in Natanz
Iranian centrifuges in Natanz
Reuters

The Obama administration may be covertly allowing Iran's nuclear program to enrich more uranium than in initial agreements, a state-approved Iranian website said Wednesday - amid reports that he is looking to bypass congressional approval for a full-fledged nuclear deal.

According to the report, the White House has allowed Iran to enrich uranium by operating 6,000 centrifuges - 2,000 more than initially reports last month. 

And that is after Obama has slowly raised the centrifuge threshold, it said - from 500 to 1,500 and finally to 4,000 - in a series of negotiations. 

The report surfaces amid an international scramble to solidify a final deal with Islamic Republic on its nuclear enrichment, ahead of a November 24, 2014 deadline. 

Iran, however, has been toughening its stance in recent weeks. Senior Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi said last week he sees no prospect for a deal unless the other side abandons its “illogical excessive demands”.

This week, a senior Iranian official declared that Iran will demand that all Western sanctions be lifted as part of a final deal, rejecting an American proposal of a gradual lifting of sanctions.

But Obama has been insistent on solidifying a deal, sources in the White House say - and, according to both a recording leaked by the Washington Free Beacon and the opinion of a major US-Israel relations expert, is likely to attempt to forge an agreement whether or not the sanctions are lifted - and increasing centrifuges could be seen as a means of appeasing the Islamic Republic. 

The size of Iran’s centrifuge inventory is a key sticking point in deal talks, with experts saying that the total centrifuge count is close to 10,000. 

Iran, for its part, has drawn a "red line" at maintaining enough centrifuges to produce enough uranium for 38 A-bombs per year


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