Iran Parliament moves to raise uranium enrichment level to 20%

November 24, 2020 - 19:33

TEHRAN – The Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee discussed on Tuesday a plan to significantly increase Iran’s nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment level.

The plan is part of a broader strategy that aims to lift the United States sanctions on Iran. Iranian lawmakers had put forward a “strategic bill to lift sanctions” in early November that aims to force the U.S. into lifting sanctions on Iran through doubling down on nuclear activities.

The Tuesday meeting came on the heels of another meeting on Monday during which the lawmakers approved some of the bill’s articles requiring the government to raise uranium enrichment levels to 20%.

Abolfazl Amouei, the spokesman for the parliamentary committee, said the committee discussed the bill on Monday and approved three articles of it.

“Despite Corona restrictions in Majlis (Parliament), the meeting was attended by two-thirds of the members. Discussing articles of the Strategic Action Plan for the lifting of sanctions was on the agenda. In today's meeting, three articles of this plan were reviewed and the opinions of the representatives were obtained and amendments were made to the clauses. Representatives from the Foreign Ministry, the Central Bank, and the Parliamentary Research Center also attended the meeting,” Amouei told the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA) on Monday.

According to Amouei, the three articles that were discussed on Monday include measures that, if adopted, would significantly increase Iran’s nuclear activities.

The spokesman said the first article of the bill is about obliging the government to raise the uranium enrichment level to 20%.  The second article is about increasing Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium. And the third article stipulates that the government and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) must use IR-2M and IR-6 advanced centrifuges.

These three articles were all approved by the lawmakers, according to Amouei.

He also said that the Tuesday meeting of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee was to hold further discussions about the strategic bill.

According to the 9-article bill, the AEOI will be required to produce and store at least 120 kilograms of enriched uranium with 20 percent purity at the Fordow nuclear facility every year, and to fulfill the country’s peaceful industrial demands with uranium enriched above 20%, Tasnim news agency reported on November 2, adding that once ratified, the bill will oblige the AEOI to increase the monthly output of enriched uranium for various peaceful purposes with different purity levels by at least 500 kg.

The news agency also said that the bill entails uranium enrichment activities with at least 1,000 IR-2M centrifuge machines at Natanz within three months after the ratification of the law, and compels the AEOI to launch uranium enrichment as well as research and development activities at the Fordow nuclear site with at least 164 IR-6 centrifuges and increase the number of centrifuge machines to 1,000 by March 2021.

The new bill also necessitates the inauguration of a metallic uranium factory in Isfahan within 5 months and restoration of a 40-Megawatts heavy water reactor in Arak, which was supposed to be re-designed and optimized under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The bill requires the government to prevent any foreign access and monitoring beyond the Additional Protocol.

The bill also requires the government to suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) three months after the ratification of it if the parties to the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), failed to uphold their obligations under the JCPOA.


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