It probably wasn't the reaction Tehran was hoping for following the much hyped announcement that it had developed "advanced nuclear centrifuges," but the televised display of achievement is garnering shrugs in some of the places that matter most.
In a live television broadcast today, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said scientists inserted nuclear fuel rods into Tehran's reactor that were made domestically and enriched to 20 percent—a "very big achievement" noted Ahmadinejad. In a terse statement following the broadcast, the U.S. called the stated advances "not terribly new and not terribly impressive." State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland added, " This is not big news. In fact it seems to have been hyped."
In France and Britain, diplomats issued perfunctory statements of "concern" while Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov emphasized, "We have no smoking gun confirming the presence of a military component and a military aspect of the Iranian nuclear programme."
None of the countries went in-depth about their reaction to the announcement, but a CBS News interview with non-proliferation expert Mark Fitzpatrick may explain the somewhat muted response. "It's probably a lot of hyperbole," said Fitzpatrick, a director at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He told CBS that Iran has been hyping third generation centrifuges for years without any proof of actual progress, "let alone a functional fourth generation."