TEHERAN - Iran will on Sunday start putting in place 3,000 uranium enriching centrifuges at a key nuclear plant in an immediate response to a UN sanctions resolution, top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told the hardline Kayhan newspaper.
Natanz is the plant where Iran carries out uranium enrichment, a process the West fears could be diverted to make a nuclear bomb, a charge vehemently denied by Iran.
"We will accelerate our programme to install the 3,000 centrifuges" in response to the resolution, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the influential head of parliament's security commission, told state radio.
Installing 3,000 centrifuges would be an important step for Iran towards enriching uranium on an industrial scale. So far it has two cascades of 164 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant in the central city of Natanz.
Iran has maintained that it wants to have the new centrifuges installed by March and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the Islamic republic will be able to celebrate its "nuclearisation" around that time.
"Previously we said repeatedly that if the Westerners wanted to exploit the UN Security Council it will not only have no influence but make us more determined to pursue our nuclear goals even faster," said Larijani.
"This action only decreases the credibility of the UN Security Council and has no effect on the Iranian will to pursue peaceful nuclear technology," he added.
After weeks of diplomatic wrangling, the UN Security Council on Saturday adopted a resolution, which imposes restrictions on Iran's nuclear industry and ballistic missile programme, its first ever sanctions against Teheran.