Iran's enrichment capacity to reach pre-JCPOA level
The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says with the new centrifuges installed following the third incremental step the country’s enrichment capacity will soon reach its pre-JCPOA level.
Iran Press/Asia: Speaking in an interview on Thursday, Behrouz Kamalvandi said, “With the new machines, which have been installed after taking the third step [to reduce Iran's commitments under the deal], 2,600 SWU (separative work units) have been added to the country’s enrichment capacity."
According to an Iran Press report, the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached in Vienna in July 2015 between Iran and the 5+1 Group of countries -- the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany. It lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran, which, in turn, voluntarily changed some aspects of its nuclear energy program.
The US, however, left the accord in May 2018 and reinstated its unilateral sanctions against Iran. The European signatories to the deal (France, Germany, Britain), meanwhile, have bowed to Washington’s pressure, failing to honour their contractual obligations to protect Iran’s economy in the face of America’s “toughest-ever” sanctions.
In response, Iran initiated a first step in reducing its obligations under the JCPOA this May by increasing its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300-kilogram limit set by the JCPOA.
The second and third steps followed after Washington insisted on its violations of the JCPOA, and the European signatories continued with their inaction and dithering. In the second step, Tehran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA-limit of 3.76 percent.
In the third step the country startup its advanced centrifuges to boost its stockpile of enriched uranium and activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes.
On Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani announced the fourth step, saying that Tehran would begin to inject uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas into centrifuges at its Fordow enrichment facility on Wednesday, as a third 60-day deadline for the European co-signatories to fulfil their side of the deal expired. Located in central Iran, Fordow houses 1,044 centrifuges.
Elsewhere in his remarks on Thursday, Kamalvandi added: “A total of 15 new centrifuges were installed after the third step, which increased our total nuclear enrichment capacity to 2,600 SWU. Today, the work at Fordow has been finished and four more cascades will be added to increase our total enrichment capacity by about 700 SWU.
When the work is completed, our overall [enrichment] capacity will stand at about 9,500 SWU, which is the level we had before signing the JCPOA.” Kamalvandi went to say that “Of course, our pre-JCPOA [enrichment] capacity was 1,000 SWU more [than this], however, the difference is that we have many advanced machines at our disposal. The farther we go, the more we can harvest from these machines. The knowledge that we gain too will help us enhance the quality and functionality of the centrifuge machines,” Kamalvandi added. 205/211/219