Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a ceremony at the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in Iran, on April 9, 2007.
Credit: Majid Saeedi

Iran said Wednesday it will continue enriching uranium, adding that despite international economic sanctions it expects its number of operational enrichment centrifuges to increase, according to Reuters.

Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted by Iranian state media:

"Despite the sanctions, most likely this year we will have a substantial growth in centrifuge machines and we will continue (uranium) enrichment with intensity," Abbasi-Davani said, according to

Radio Free Europe points out the announcement precedes an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting slated for November 29. The IAEA will address the question of whether or not Iran's nuclear program is peaceful.

Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful energy purposes. The United States, Israel and other countries contend Iran seeks a nuclear weapon.

The Associated Press reported Iran is "poised to double" its uranium enrichment at Fordo, an underground enrichment center.

In addition, Iranian health official Gholamreza Massoumi said Tuesday he was concerned about the health effects Iran's nuclear sites, stressing the need to emergency protocol.

“We believe all of our emergency services should be trained and ready to face nuclear accidents,” Massoumi said, according to Radio Free Europe.

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