‘Iran able to enrich uranium to 5, 20 or 60 percent’

Tehran says ready to scrap JCPOA if need be

November 9, 2019

TEHRAN – The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) spokesman says Iran is ready to scarp the nuclear deal if need be, emphasizing that the AEOI has the potential to enrich uranium to 5, 20 or 60 percent, while noting that Iran will not tolerate any act of sabotage against its nuclear facilities.

“If the country’s interests necessitate that we set Barjam aside, this will be definitely implemented, and the Atomic Energy Organization and Foreign Ministry will not be the sole decision-makers in that regard, but it will be up to the entire country to decide,” Behrooz Kamalvandi said at a press conference at the Fordow nuclear facility on Saturday, using a Persian acronym for the nuclear agreement Iran and six world powers struck in 2015 and later ditched by the United States. 

Kamalvandi said Iran waited patiently for a year after the U.S. withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and then took strategic decisions to reduce its commitments to the JCPOA, Tasnim reported.

If the Europeans want to continue the cooperation with Iran, they need to make changes to their actions, he said, hinting at the European countries’ inaction to save the JCPOA.

Kamalvandi said the AEOI has been tasked with enriching uranium to 5 percent and “the organization has the potential to enrich uranium to 5, 20 or 60 percent.”

On Wednesday, Iran started to inject uranium gas into centrifuges at the Fordow nuclear facility under the supervision of inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog, officially going on with the fourth step since it began responding to Washington’s abandonment of the nuclear deal and an inaction by the remaining parties, including Europeans, to shield Iran from sanctions.

Iran took the first step to scale down nuclear commitments on May 8, 218.  The other two steps were taken two months later each. 

In the first step, Iran removed cap on its stockpile of nuclear enrichment which had been limited to 300 kilograms. In the second, Iran started enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent. And in the third, Iran removed ban on nuclear research and development.

Kamalvandi said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are scheduled to verify the resumption of nuclear enrichment at the Fordow nuclear site on Sunday.

He said the IAEA has been monitoring the process of nuclear material injection into the centrifuges, and its inspectors are scheduled to analyze the samples taken from the centrifuge machines on Sunday before making a verification report regarding enrichment at the nuclear site.

Under the JCPOA, the Fordow nuclear site was supposed to exclude nuclear materials for 15 years, but Iran resumed enrichment activities in the fourth step of reduced commitments to the nuclear deal and transferred a cylinder to the Fordow site containing around 2,000 kilograms of UF6, the spokesman added.

Kamalvandi said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are scheduled to verify the resumption of nuclear enrichment at the Fordow nuclear site on Sunday.

He said enriching uranium at Fordow is going to reach at full capacity in the coming days, and that it would raise the country’s level of uranium enrichment capacity to 9,500 SWUs (Separative Work Units), close to the capacity before the JCPOA.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Iran had held an IAEA inspector and seized her travel documents. Iran later confirmed the report, saying the inspector was carrying dangerous materials that could threaten the security of its nuclear facilities.

“When the inspector was entering the Natanz facilities, our detectors identified that she could be carrying dangerous materials, and several actions took place afterwards,” Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the Vienna-based international organizations, said on Thursday.

“This is an alarming signal for us and we can’t ignore this issue easily,” he said, adding that the detectors only sounded for her and not the other inspectors. 

Commenting on the issue, Kamalvandi said Iran has always welcomed inspections, but at the same time, Iranian authorities are fully aware of the possibility of an act of sabotage on Iran’s nuclear sites which could harm its nuclear industry.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is after obtaining its rights and will not allow any problem to occur in its nuclear industry, he added.

MH/PA

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