Iran continues removing centrifuges within nuclear deal commitments
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 15
By Umid Niayesh- Trend:
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi once again emphasized that the Islamic Republic continues removing uranium enrichment centrifuges, in compliance with its commitments, as stated in the recently signed nuclear agreement.
Iran began removing inactive centrifuges at the Nataz nuclear site two weeks ago, Salehi said in statements to IRIB 3 state TV Nov. 14.
Iran has 20,000 centrifuges in Natanz, half of them inactive, Salehi noted, adding that Tehran has not yet begun removing centrifuges from Fordow.
"In line with our commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), we have started removing centrifuges in Natanz," Salehi said, criticizing some hardline politicians who questioned his earlier statements on the removal of centrifuges.
On Nov. 2, Salehi announced that Iran, for the first time, has begun shutting down centrifuges under the terms of the nuclear agreement which triggered disputes in the country.
According to the JCPOA, signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries made up of the UK, US, France, Germany, Russia, and China, Tehran is committed to reducing its number of centrifuges.
Earlier in November, 20 lawmakers urged President Hassan Rouhani to stop removing centrifuges from the Natanz and Fordow nuclear facilities in central Iran.
Alireza Zakani, head of the Iranian parliament's Special Commission for Reviewing the JCPOA, said on Nov. 8 that the process of dismantling centrifuges at Iranian nuclear sites has been halted, adding that removing the centrifuges contradicts Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's directives on carrying out the nuclear agreement.
"It was an incorrect step, and the officials stopped that after being warned on the issue," said Zakani.
Meanwhile, Salehi rejected this claim, emphasizing that no "warning" about removing centrifuges was issued by officials.
Removing centrifuges is a sensitive process that needs time, Salehi said, adding the 10,000 centrifuges in Natanz take one month to disassemble, and two months to again assemble.
Removing centrifuges often results in damaging at least 10-20 percent, which already have problems in their designs, Salehi underscored.
"If we delay in removing the centrifuges, we will have lost time and the JCPOA implementation will be delayed."
As result, the sanctions will be lifted even later, which has already imposed a $150 million per-day loss to the country's economy, the Iranian nuclear chief underlined.
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