Iran claims to be enriching Uranium 20% faster than planned

Iran claims to be enriching Uranium 20% faster than planned

The Iranian authorities have so far produced 17 kilograms of uranium enriched to a purity of 20%, in violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement, whose compliance Iran is subject to the United States returning to it first.

The Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Mohamad Baqer Qalibaf, announced on Thursday that “the nuclear law has been implemented step by step and the enrichment of uranium to 20% is ahead of schedule.”

The aforementioned law approved last December by Parliament, with a conservative majority, stipulates the production of 120 kilograms of uranium enriched to that purity per year, a process that began in early January.

During a visit to the Fordo nuclear plant, Qalibaf stressed that the process “is advanced” and that “17 kg of uranium have been enriched in approximately one month,” according to statements collected by the semi-official Mehr agency.

Regarding the installation of advanced IR2M centrifuges, another point of Parliament’s law, he indicated that “it is underway.”

In this regard, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behruz Kamalvandi, reported today that 1,000 IR2M centrifuges will be installed in Natanz within three months, when the nuclear pact only allows the use of first-generation ones.

The agreement, known as JCPOA in its acronym in English, was signed in 2015 between Iran and six great powers (the US, Russia, China, France, the UK and Germany) to limit the Iranian atomic program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

The 2018 U.S. withdrawal from the pact under President Donald Trump and its re-imposition of sanctions on Iran greatly weakened the agreement and led Tehran to gradually default on its obligations.

With the arrival of Democrat Joe Biden to the White House, some hopes have been raised because of his declared intention to return to the JCPOA, but Tehran has not liked his terms.

The new US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said yesterday that “if Iran returns to fully comply with its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same.”

However, in Tehran’s view, the first step must be taken by Washington: “The ball is in the US court,” Iranian President Hasan Rohaní recently asserted.

In response to Blinken, the head of Iranian diplomacy, Mohamad Yavad Zarif, said today that the US violated the JCPOA and even blocked imports of medicines, while Iran “only took the planned corrective measures.”

“Who should take the first step? Never forget Trump’s ultimate failure,” he wrote on his official Twitter account.

Ben Oakley
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