President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced today that they’ve reached their goal of running 3,000 simultaneous centrifuges to enrich uranium for their nuclear program. From the AP:
Iran has reached its long-sought goal of running 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium for its nuclear program, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Sunday, in a report on state media. [editor: this program is carried out at Iran’s nuclear facility, Natanz, overhead view here.]
The U.N. Security Council had threatened a third round of sanctions against the country if it did not freeze the uranium enrichment program – which Iran maintains is for peaceful energy purposes, but the U.S. says is to hide a weapons program.
“The West thought the Iranian nation would give in after just a resolution, but now we have taken another step in the nuclear progress and launched more than 3,000 centrifuge machines, installing a new cascade every week,” the state television Web site quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
At the same time the head of the Iranian Revolution guards has been suddenly replaced byIran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s Revolutionary guards is now designated as a terrorist group by the US for support of Hamas, Hezb’allah, Sadrists in Iraq, and Al Qaeda in Iraq. This is a rare and sudden shake-up. From Pakistan Daily Times:
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a surprise move on Saturday replaced the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards force.
State television said that General Yahya Rahim Safavi would be stepping down to become a special military adviser to Khamenei, and would be replaced by fellow Guards Commander Muhammad Ali Jaafari as the new overall head of the Guards.
UPDATE: It appears that the appointments mentioned above are temporary arrangements… what’s afoot here?
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said here Sunday that decrees issued by the Supreme Leader are for certain period of time.
Talking to reporters, he said Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in his decree to the former head of the Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, praised great efforts made by Safavi during his term in office.
The Supreme Leader appointed Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jaafari as the new IRGC Commander Saturday evening.
Safavi had served as head of the IRGC for 10 years and has now been appointed as a special advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei for military affairs.