Albright, who occasionally briefs U.S. government officials on Iran's nuclear program, said much of the material appears to be coming through China from European and Japanese manufacturers. He cited non-U.S. Western government sources for his information but said he could not divulge precise nationalities.
At the present installation rate of about 200 a month, it would take 15 months from the startup date to install the 3,000 high-tech centrifuges mentioned by Abbasi. That would mean all would be in place by May 2014.
It was unclear how well the centrifuges would work, if and when they are started up. Iran has experienced persistent problems with its older machines.
The new IR-2ms are believed to be able to enrich two to five times faster than the old machines. For nations fearing that Iran may want to make nuclear arms, that would mean a quicker way of getting there.
The up-grade reflects Iranian resistance to attempts by six nations — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — which are trying to persuade Iran to curb its nuclear program. The latest Iran-six power talks ended April 6 without progress in Almaty, Kazakhstan. That extended years of inconclusive negotiations and increased fears that the diplomatic window on reaching a deal on Iran's nuclear program may soon close.
Israel accuses Tehran of striving to make nuclear weapons and has threatened to bomb its atomic facilities to stop it from reaching that alleged goal if talks fail. The United States also has not ruled out such action as a last resort.
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