Iran rejects U.S., E3 statement on Fordow 

February 6, 2023 - 22:33

TEHRAN – The Iranian Foreign Ministry has reacted to a joint statement by the United States and its European allies on the commencement of %60 uranium enrichment at Fordow. 

“In reaction to the statement of the European troika and the U.S. on Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities at the Fordow facility, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, was notified of the 60% enrichment in Fordow on November 17, 2022,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday afternoon. 

The statement added, “Kanaani added that all the modes of enrichment have been specified in the data questionnaire. He also said that during the January 2023 inspection, no new measure happened that would be contradictory to the November 17, 2022 questionnaire and would, thus, make it necessary to inform the IAEA thereof.”

On Feb. 3, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States issued a joint statement in reaction to the latest report by the IAEA in which the UN nuclear watchdog accused Iran of applying changes to the configuration of some of its centrifuges without informing the Agency in advance. These centrifuges produce high-enriched uranium up to 60% and are located at the Fordow enrichment plant.

The four countries claimed that the Iranian move was “inconsistent with Iran’s obligations under its NPT-required Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.”

They said, “Such lack of required notification undermines the Agency’s ability to maintain timely detection at Iran’s nuclear facilities. The newly reported change in configuration of centrifuge cascades used to produce near-weapons-grade uranium underscores the need for Iran to meet all its safeguards reporting obligations and to accept whatever safeguards monitoring the IAEA sees as necessary in light of Iran’s production of such highly enriched uranium.”

They concluded, “We call on Iran to comply with all its legally-binding international obligations under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA and to fully cooperate with the Agency in the application of effective safeguards at Fordow.”

Iran's nuclear head on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction with the IAEA’s recent report on Tehran’s nuclear activities at the Fordow nuclear complex, asserting that the IAEA inspectors’ assessment of their visit to the nuclear plant was “inaccurate”.

Speaking at an exhibition on Iran’s new accomplishments in the nuclear industry, Mohammad Eslami, chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said “the Agency's attitude is unfortunate.”

Eslami said the AEOI had promptly informed the IAEA of one of its inspectors’ wrong examination of activities in Fordow.

The IAEA inspectors discovered that a mistake had been made, Eslami continued.

Iran advised the IAEA in a letter issued back in November that it had decided to begin enriching uranium at its Fordow plant to a purity level of 60%.

Additionally, at two vacant halls in the nuclear plants of Fordow and Natanz, Iran has installed and started up additional centrifuges. 

The halls had remained empty as a result of Iran's adherence to the conditions of the historic 2015 nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but centrifuges have now been reinstalled.

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