- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Iran’s new president has dashed Western hopes for a more amicable relationship as the International Atomic Energy Agency reported the recently seated leader has ratcheted up uranium enrichment at the underground Natanz plant.

The IAEA report, which was released Wednesday, reveals that Iran has installed more than 1,000 new-generation, high-technology centrifuges at the complex and will begin performance testing in the coming weeks, Reuters reported.

The West earlier hoped the new president might adopt nuclear policies that were more favorable to the international community, and reflect growing concerns that the nation was pursuing nuclear weaponry. Iran, for its part, steadfastly has maintained that its nuclear enrichment program was for peaceable purposes only, designed to bolster the country’s energy sources.

This is the first IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear development since Hasan Rouhani, widely viewed as a moderate, was elected to the presidency.

The report says that Iran has been continuing full force with its nuclear program. Specifically, the nation has added 1,008 centrifuges at Natanz and was poised to inject them with uranium material — after testing their operational status, Reuters reported. Iran also just finished preparing for the installation of 2,000 other centrifuges at the site. Experts say such capacity could increase the facility’s powers of refinement by at least double, and maybe triple.