Tehran: First batch of 20% enriched uranium products ready

January 5, 2021 - 16:27

TEHRAN — Tehran says it has produced its first UF6 (uranium hexafluoride or hex) product a few hours after it announced the restarting of uranium enrichment at 20 percent in the Fordow nuclear site.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), announced on Monday evening that the process of injecting gas into the centrifuges and resuming uranium enrichment with purity of 20 percent started earlier in the day.

Kamalvandi said Iran started the process after informing inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Considering the previous experience of enrichment at the Fordow facility, the new production line for enriching uranium up to 20 percent was prepared very quickly,” the spokesman said.

He also said Iran is ready to enrich uranium at purity levels beyond 20 percent.

The remarks came hours after government spokesman Ali Rabiei announced that Iran has started the process to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity at Fordow.

President Hassan Rouhani has ordered the implementation of a new law, dubbed the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, which has been already approved by the Parliament, Rabiei told IRNA.

U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the historic nuclear agreement in May 2018 and pursued a policy of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic Republic.

The maximum pressure campaign prompted Iran to reduce its commitments under the nuclear deal, officially called the JCPOA, especially after the other signatories of the deal failed to protect Iran’s interests.

Zarif: Our measures are fully reversible

Iran, however, has repeatedly said that its actions can be reversed if the other parties fulfilled their JCPOA commitments.

In a tweet on Monday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran’s latest move conforms fully with paragraph 36 of the JCPOA, but also pointed out that Iran’s measures are fully reversible.

“We resumed 20% enrichment, as legislated by our Parliament. IAEA has been duly notified,” Zarif said.

“Our remedial action conforms fully with Para 36 of JCPOA, after years of non-compliance by several other JCPOA participants. Our measures are fully reversible upon FULL compliance by ALL,” he added.

Meanwhile, the IAEA said hours after Iran’s announcement that its head is set to inform members of the IAEA Board of Governors on Monday about the new development in Iran.

“Agency inspectors have been monitoring activities at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant in Iran. Based on their information, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi is expected to submit a report to IAEA Member States later today,” a spokesman for the nuclear agency said by email, Reuters reported.

Later on Monday, the IAEA issued a statement confirming that Iran had started the process of enriching uranium to 20 percent.

“Iran today began feeding uranium already enriched up to 4.1 percent U-235 into six centrifuge cascades at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant for further enrichment up to 20 percent,” the statement read.

The UN nuclear watchdog said its inspectors were present at the site to detach the Agency’s seal from a cylinder with the feed material and that the cylinder was then connected to the feeding line to start the production of uranium enriched up to 20 percent.

A total of 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges were being used in the process, the IAEA added.


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