Iran disconnects centrifuge cascades, yet 5-percent enrichment continues

Photo: Iran disconnects centrifuge cascades, yet 5-percent enrichment continues / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.20

By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:

The centrifuges arranged in cascades at Iran's Natanz and Fordow enrichment plants have been disconnected to suspend the 20-percent uranium enrichment, but they haven't been deactivated, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said on Jan.20.

Iran State TV (IRIB) quoted Kamalvandi as saying that those centrifuges which were active to produce nearly 20 percent pure uranium before, now are producing the 5 percent-enriched uranium.

"There are some 19,000 centrifuges in Iran's uranium enrichment facilities, most of them are active and their activity will be kept on," he said.

Kamalvand, without mentioning any names, said that one of the members of P5+1 countries was insisting that IAEA inspectors should remain in Iran for six months permanently, but IAEA said there is not need for that.

He went on to say that Arak heavy water reactor has been inspected every three months, but according to nuclear accord, IAEA will inspect it each month from Jan.20.

Kamalvand said that IAEA will visit Gachin uranium mine in Bandar Abbas on Jan.29, as well.

Based on the nuclear agreement, Iran should halt production of 20-percent enriched uranium and disable the centrifuges used to produce it, as well as neutralize its near-20-percent enriched uranium stockpile, according to a report released by White House on Jan.16.

Iran committed to refrain from enriching uranium in nearly half of the installed centrifuges at its Natanz site, and three-quarters of centrifuges at its Fordow site, and also limit centrifuge production, which is needed to replace damaged machines.

Tehran also took obligation to refrain from building additional enrichment facilities and advancing research and development of enrichment and avoid from commissioning, fueling or adding reactor components to its Arak reactor and halt production and additional testing of fuel for the reactor.

Iran's commitments also include refraining from building a facility capable of reprocessing, which allows Iran to separate plutonium from used nuclear fuel, which could be used to make nuclear bombs.

It should be noted that Iran and the P5+1 reached a nuclear agreement on Nov. 24. Iran has agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities for six months in return for sanctions relief. Both Iran and the P5+1 group have agreed to implement the agreement starting from Jan. 20.

The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies. The Islamic Republic has on numerous occasions stated that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, using nuclear energy for medical researches instead.

Edited by: Saeed Isayev

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