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Iran's supreme leader reveals demands in nuclear talks

Published on Jul 9, 2014 4:50 AM

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran's supreme leader revealed on Tuesday his country's demands for a massive long-term increase in its nuclear enrichment capability, laying bare huge gaps between Teheran and world powers negotiating a deal.

The comments, published on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's website, represent a dramatic intervention in the talks currently taking place in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 group of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany, for a nuclear accord.

His remarks relate to the enrichment process of producing fuel from centrifuges for nuclear power stations, which the West and Israel says, in highly extended form, could be used to develop an atomic bomb. Iran currently has about 19,000 centrifuges - of which only 10,000 are working - but says more powerful machines will be needed to develop enough nuclear energy in the future.

Mr Khamenei said the required enrichment capability would be 19 times higher than the West currently wants to allow under a comprehensive agreement. Uranium enrichment and centrifuge numbers are the most sensitive topic in the negotiations, which aim to conclude a deal by July 20.

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