Iran will speed up its controversial nuclear weapons program at its Natanz facility by installing more advanced nuclear enrichment centrifuges, it announced January 23. Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that it would install approximately 3,000 new-generation IR2m centrifuge machines, which are three to five times faster than current models.
This new development could be “a most unfortunate game changer,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, a nuclear expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The 3,000 centrifuge machines may take up to a year to install and operate, but after that, Tehran will be much closer to developing a nuclear weapon. “Once installed and in operation, the centrifuges could give Iran the capability to make a dash for the bomb faster than the U.S. and its allies could react,” wrote cbs News.