Over 1,000 Centrifuges Doing Enrichment Work at Iran’s Fordow Facility - AEOI Chief
By Staff, Agencies
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI] Ali Akbar Salehi said 1,044 centrifuges are currently operating at Fordow uranium enrichment site as an evidence to the fact that the country has taken in full the fourth step it had promised to reduce its commitments under a landmark nuclear deal with the world powers.
US President Donald Trump, a hawkish critic of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism.
In response to the US' unilateral move and Europe's failure to help Iran take advantage of economic benefits of the deal, Tehran rowed back on its nuclear commitments five times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. The Islamic Republic, however, stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe would find practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.
As a first step, Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA, while in the second step, Tehran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA limit of 3.76 percent.
In the third phase, after the European signatories to the JCPOA failed to meet a 60-day deadline to meet Iran’s demands and fulfill their commitments under the deal, Tehran started up advanced centrifuges to boost the country's stockpile of enriched uranium and activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes.
In November 2019, Iran also began injecting gas into centrifuges at Fordow as part of its fourth step away from the JCPOA under the supervision of the IAEA.
The Iranian government in January issued a statement announcing its decision to take the fifth and final step in reducing its commitments under the JCPOA.