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PARIS, Aug. 24 — An Iranian opposition group said here on Thursday that Iran had built at least 15 advanced uranium enrichment machines that could speed production of nuclear fuel and asserted that the country would have hundreds more by next year.
The group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has been correct before. In August 2002, its announcement that Tehran was pursuing a secret uranium enrichment program led in part to the current standoff over the Iranian nuclear development program. But many of the group’s subsequent disclosures have been either less significant or wrong.
Iran faces possible United Nations sanctions if it fails to stop enriching uranium by Aug. 31. Iran says it will use the nuclear fuel to generate power, but the international community fears that the program is designed to provide fuel for nuclear weapons.
The National Council of Resistance is the political wing of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, whose goal is to overthrow the Islamic Republic by force. The National Council said Thursday that Tehran was making advanced centrifuges, known as model P-2, at a secret site run by the “Iran Centrifuge Technology Company.” Iran has already been enriching uranium with slower P-1 centrifuges, made from an older design.