Iran announces sharp rise in en­riched ura­nium pro­duc­tion

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Tehran, Iran - Tehran, Iran - Iran an­nounced on Mon­day a more than ten­fold in­crease in en­riched ura­nium pro­duc­tion fol­low­ing a se­ries of steps back from com­mit­ments un­der a 2015 nu­clear deal aban­doned by the United States.

Iran has also de­vel­oped two new ad­vanced cen­trifuges, one of which is un­der­go­ing test­ing, said Ali Ak­bar Salehi, the head of Atomic En­ergy Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Iran.

En­riched ura­nium pro­duc­tion has reached five kilo­grammes per day, Salehi told re­porters at the Natanz fa­cil­ity in cen­tral Iran in re­marks broad­cast by state TV.

That com­pares with the level of 450 grams two months ago when it aban­doned a num­ber of com­mit­ments made un­der a land­mark 2015 nu­clear deal.

Tehran de­cided in May to sus­pend cer­tain com­mit­ments un­der the ac­cord, a year af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with­drew from the deal and reim­posed sanctions on the Is­lamic repub­lic.

Iran has so far hit back with three pack­ages of coun­ter­mea­sures and threatened to go even fur­ther if the re­main­ing part­ners to the deal - Bri­tain, China, France, Ger­many and Russia - fail to help it cir­cum­vent US sanctions.

On July 1, Iran said it had in­creased its stock­pile of en­riched ura­nium to be­yond a 300kg max­i­mum set by the deal, and a week later, it an­nounced it had ex­ceeded a 3.67 per cent cap on the pu­rity of its ura­nium stocks.

It fired up ad­vanced cen­trifuges to boost its en­riched ura­nium stock­piles on Septem­ber 7.

Last month, The UN’s nu­clear watch­dog said Iran had taken ‘a step in the right di­rec­tion’ to­wards deal­ing with ques­tions on its nu­clear pro­gramme but cau­tioned that the is­sues have not been ‘com­pletely ad­dressed’.

Salehi said Ira­nian en­gi­neers ‘have suc­cess­fully built a pro­to­type of IR-9, which is our new­est ma­chine, and also a model of a new ma­chine called IR-s ... all these in two months’.

Iran has re­moved all of its nu­clear deal-ap­proved IR-1 cen­trifuges and is only us­ing ad­vanced ma­chines, lead­ing to the sharp in­crease in en­riched ura­nium pro­duc­tion, he added.

“We must thank the en­emy for bring­ing about this op­por­tu­nity to show the might of the Is­lamic repub­lic of Iran, es­pe­cially in the nu­clear in­dus­try,” Salehi said. “This is while some say (Iran’s) nu­clear in­dus­try was de­stroyed!” he said, laugh­ing.

Ali Ak­bar Salehi

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