Iran limited to 6K centrifuges in draft accord

This file photo shows centrifuges at Iran's Natanz enrichment facility.

This file photo shows centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Officials tell The Associated Press that a draft nuclear accord being negotiated between the U.S. and Iran would force Iran to cut hardware it could use to make an atomic bomb by about 40 percent for at least a decade.

Officials say the draft deal would also offer the Iranians immediate relief from sanctions that have crippled their economy.

The deal would cap Iran’s uranium centrifuges at 6,000 for decade or more. The centrifuge number is less than the 10,000 such machines Tehran now runs. But it’s substantially more than the 500 to 1,500 that Washington originally wanted as a ceiling.

The existence of a draft in circulation may be the clearest indication the sides were nearing a written agreement before a March 31 deadline.

By The Associated Press