The State Department said Friday Iran's announcement that it has a new generation of uranium-enrichment centrifuges is more evidence of nefarious intentions with regard to its nuclear program. The Iranian move came a day after world powers began negotiations on a new U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution against Tehran.
The State Department says that Iran's own pronouncements on its nuclear program are providing convincing evidence that the enrichment effort is weapons related despite Tehran's professions of peaceful intent.
The comments here followed an event in Tehran at which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showcased what he said was a new generation of domestically-built uranium centrifuges and declaring that Iran's nuclear path is irreversible.
At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Iranian chest-thumping about its nuclear capabilities undermines its own case, and that if its intentions were truly peaceful it would have no need for more powerful enrichment equipment. "Its comments today just provide greater evidence that, not-withstanding its denials, that we have to conclude that Iran has nefarious intentions in its nuclear program. And that's expressly why we continue to work with the international community on additional measures, sanctions, to show Iran that there's a consequences for its failure to meet its obligations," he said.
The comments came a day after diplomats of the five permanent U.N. Security Council member countries and Germany - the so-called P-Five-plus-One which has led international diplomacy on the Iranian nuclear issue - met in New York begin negotiations on new Iran sanctions.
Among the veto-wielding Security Council member countries, China has been the most reluctant to accept the need for what would be a fourth round of sanctions.
U.S. officials have framed China's willingness to take part in concrete sanctions discussions as a significant turn in Chinese policy.
The Iran program is expected to be a major issue in contacts in Washington on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit being convened by President Obama Monday aimed at curbing proliferation and potential acts of nuclear terrorism.
China is sending a top level delegation to Washington headed by President Hu Jintao.