Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 7
By Elnur Baghishov - Trend:
Iran will enrich uranium using next-generation centrifuges as part of the third step of reducing commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said at a press conference, Trend reports via IRNA.
Iran has begun feeding gas into its IR-6 centrifuge machines as part of the third phase of reducing its nuclear commitments, he said.
Subject to provisions of a 2015 nuclear deal Iran signed with six western countries (the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany), the country would be allowed to start feeding gas into its IR-6 centrifuge machines as of the beginning of the 11th year after signing the deal – known as the JCPOA, he noted.
However, just a year after the US unilateral exit from the deal in May 2018 and subsequent imposition of tough sanctions on Tehran, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran will suspend some of its commitments under the deal, he said.
Kamalvandi added that Iran which had stopped sending its surplus uranium and heavy water to foreign countries in the first phase and had surpassed the 3.67 percent limit for nuclear enrichment in the second phase, has now put research and development on the agenda of its third phase.
“Besides, the operation of 20 IR-4 centrifuges and 20 IR-6 centrifuges will be restored,” he said.
In January 2016, the JCPOA was implemented between Iran and the P5+1 group (the US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany) in connection with Iran's nuclear program. In May 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the deal and imposed sanctions against Iran in November of the same year. In order to preserve the agreements reached as part of the JCPOA, the European signatories of the deal stated in January 2019 that a financial mechanism for maintaining trade with Iran called INSTEX was formed.
On May 8, 2019, Iran announced that it had ceased fulfilling its commitments regarding the sale of over 300 kilograms of uranium, as stated in the deal, basing its decision on the other signatories having not fulfilled their obligations. On July 7, Iran announced that it will not be fulfilling its commitments regarding the enrichment of uranium at 3.67 percent and the reconstruction of the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility as stated in the deal.
The 60-day deadline given by Iran to European countries involved ends on Sept. 7 this year.