Iran resumes uranium enrichment in Fordow to cut more of nuke commitments

Iran resumes uranium enrichment in Fordow to cut more of nuke commitments

Agency News

Tehran, Nov 7 : Iran resumed uranium enrichment in Fordow nuclear facility on early Thursday to further cut its commitments to the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) announced Thursday that it officially started injecting Uranium Hexafluoride (UF6) into the centrifuges at the Fordow nuclear plant, official IRNA news agency reported. Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the AEOI, said the injection of UF6 is monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

On Wednesday, Iran transferred 2,000 kg of UF6 from Natanz nuclear facility to Fordow to inject it into 1,044 centrifuges. Based on the JCPOA clinched in 2015, Iran had been allowed to spin the IR-1 centrifuges at Fordow, the nuclear site near Iran's central city of Qom, without uranium gas.

Kamalvandi said that Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium is currently around 500 kg and it would increase by some six kg per day with the resumption of enrichment at Fordow, according to Tasnim news agency.

Kamalvandi also said that the purity of uranium enrichment in Fordow will reach 4.5 per cent by Saturday and the IAEA inspectors will come back to check the process, according to Press TV.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that by taking the new step to further reduce Iran's commitments to the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, "Fordow will soon be back to full operation."

"The IAEA is aware of Iran's new move and will continue to monitor" Iran's nuclear activities, Rouhani said. Iran President stressed that Tehran is ready to re-embrace its nuclear commitments provided that the parties to the deal honour their commitments as well.

"Iran will stop injection of gas into the centrifuges (in Fordow) when they implement their commitments" to protect Iran's interests under the nuclear deal, he said, adding that in that case "Iran's current measure is reversible." Iran's recent move is the country's fourth step to reduce its nuclear commitments since May this year.

In a reaction to the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposition of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, and in a response to the Europeans' slowness in facilitating Iran's banking transactions and its oil exports, the Islamic republic, since six months ago, has made staged moves to drop its commitments under the JCPOA.

Beside the fresh move to begin enrichment activities in Fordow, Iran stated to build stockpiles of nuclear fuel and enrich low-grade uranium to a higher level of purity. It also started up advanced centrifuges to boost the country's stockpile of enriched uranium and research activities, all of which had been restricted by the nuclear accord.