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IAEA: Iran informed agency of plans to boost nuclear enrichment at Fordow


The file photo shows an Iranian flag fluttering in front of the International Atomic Energy Agencyís headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran has notified the UN nuclear watchdog that it plans to enrich uranium to up to 20 percent at Fordow facility, near the Iranian city of Qom.

In a statement released on Friday, the IAEA said the Islamic Republic had sent a letter to the agency on December 31 regarding its decision.

"Iran has informed the Agency that in order to comply with a legal act recently passed by the countryís parliament, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran intends to produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) up to 20 percent at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant," the statement read.

"Iranís letter to the Agency ... did not say when this enrichment activity would take place," it added.

The agency stressed that it "has inspectors present in Iran on a 24/7 basis and they have regular access to Fordow."

#IAEA DG reported to the Board of Governors and #UNSC about intention of #Tehran to start enrichment op to 20%. Usually such confidential reports are leaked to media in 10 minutes. Today it happened in about 2 hours. The person who leaks is a human being - relaxed on the holiday.

- Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) January 1, 2021
Iran showed to the world the peaceful nature of its nuclear program by signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with six world states - namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China - in 2015. The nuclear deal was also ratified in the form of a UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

However, Washingtonís exit in May 2018 and the subsequent reimposition of unilateral sanctions against Tehran left the future of the historic agreement in limbo.

Tehran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of Washingtonís bans on the Iranian economy.

As the European parties failed to do so, Tehran moved in May 2019 to suspend its JCPOA commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the agreement covering Tehranís legal rights.

Last month, the Iranian parliament approved a law, dubbed the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, which requires the government to scale back more obligations under the JCPOA.

It also requires the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to produce at least 120 kilograms of 20-percent enriched uranium annually and store it inside the country within two months after the adoption of the law.

The law further urges the AEOI to start the installation, gas injection, enrichment and storage of nuclear materials up to an appropriate enrichment degree within a period of three months using at least 1,000 IR-2m centrifuges.

Tehran has expressed its readiness to reverse the suspension of its commitments only if the US returns to the nuclear deal and lifts all sanctions without any preconditions or if the European co-signatories manage to protect business ties with Iran against Washingtonís sanctions as part of their contractual obligations.

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/21692


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