Iran’s national nuclear agency said it is starting a process to boost the capacity of the country’s uranium enrichment within the framework of the 2015 nuclear agreement, and will notify the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] of the decision.
In this regard, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI], Behrouz Kamalvandi, told ISNA news agency on Tuesday that Iran will inform the IAEA of the start of the process to increase the production capacity of uranium hexafluoride [UF6], a chemical compound which serves as feedstock for centrifuges.
“In a letter that would be delivered to the International Atomic Energy Agency by the Iranian mission in Vienna, it has been announced that we will begin the process of increasing the capacity for the production of UF6 and UF4 gases on Monday as well as the manufacturing and assembly of centrifuge rotors,” Kamalvandi said.
Kamalvandi’s comments came just hours after Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered the AEOI to get prepared for uranium enrichment up to a level of 190,000 SWU [separative work unit] within the framework of the 2015 nuclear deal.
SWU is the standard measure of the effort required to separate isotopes of uranium during an enrichment process. 1SWU is equivalent to 1 kilogram of separative work.
Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], Kamalvandi said, Iran was supposed to achieve an enrichment capacity of at least 190,000 SWU by the end of the 15th year since the deal’s enforcement in January 2016.
“We had earlier estimated that we could reach about 250,000-SWU capacity by the end of the 15th year, but given the Leader’s call for us to pursue a 190,000-SWU capacity, we need to take measures for this to be realized faster,” the official added.
Achieving the 190,000-SWU enrichment capacity means increasing efforts to set up workshops and factories and providing the infrastructure and other arrangements necessary for moving forward at a high speed and capacity, he added.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s pullout from the nuclear deal, vowing to reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
He also said Iran was in “pursuit of nuclear weapons,” a claim that contradicts numerous reports by the UN nuclear watchdog confirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear work and the country’s full compliance with the accord.
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