TEHRAN - Iran has developed a new generation of centrifuges which are 15 times more powerful than those currently being used to enrich uranium, its atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday.
"We unveiled a new generation of centrifuges that surprised the Westerners ... This new machine is 15 times more powerful than the previous generation," he said, quoted by the state broadcaster on its website, iribnews.ir.
He said the development was not in violation of a November 24 agreement between Iran and six world powers that has imposed curbs on Tehran's nuclear drive.
"We successfully argued that this was allowed within the research and development article in the agreement," Salehi added.
Iran currently has nearly 19,000 centrifuges, including 10,000 of the so-called first generation being used to enrich uranium.
Some 1,000 second generation machines, three to five times more powerful, have been installed but are not in service.
Under the November deal, Iran cannot increase the number of its centrifuges.
Salehi did not say when the new centrifuges would become operational, but a first machine was to be delivered to a medical centre in Karaj, west of Tehran, "within two or three months."