July 8, 2014 - 15:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Iran needs 190,000 centrifuges for its nuclear programme - far higher than limits reportedly sought by world powers, BBC News reported.
"Perhaps not today, but in two to five years that is the country's absolute need," he said in a statement. He said that world powers are trying to limit the number to 10,000.
Nuclear negotiations are continuing between Iran and the P5+1 group, with a deadline of 20 July for an agreement. The deadline could be extended if an agreement is not made in time.
World powers suspect Iran is seeking nuclear weapons - a charge Iran strongly denies. Iran insists it is enriching uranium to fuel power plants and for medical needs, and wants international sanctions to end.
Negotiators from the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany (P5+1) want Iran to scale back enrichment to ensure the uranium cannot be used in weapons.
Last month French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Iran must restrict its number of centrifuges to just a few hundred.
Both sides are hoping to build on an interim deal agreed in Geneva in November that saw Iran curb enrichment in return for sanctions relief. But progress since the Geneva deal has been slow, with the last round of talks in May proving unfruitful.
Differences reportedly remain over how much uranium enrichment capacity Iran should be allowed to keep, as well as other issues. Iranian officials have suggested that the deadline could be extended for another six months to allow negotiations to continue.