November 27, 2022

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Iran has begun producing 60% enriched uranium at its Ford plant

Iran has begun producing 60% enriched uranium at its Fordow plant, a fresh breach of its obligations after a landmark resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“We said political pressure will not change anything and accept the resolution [à l’AIEA] “Exhibits an extreme reaction.” From Iran, quoted Mohammad Eslami underlinedIranian Student News Agency (ISNA). The IAEA confirmed this new activity at Fordo and company “Iran will inform Iran of its intention to increase the frequency and intensity of its verification activities.”Its director general, Rafael Mariano Croci, said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

“Iran also plans significant expansion of low-enriched uranium production” Up to 20% “In Ford”The IAEA was added and established “Second Production Building” In Nathanz. Already, last year, Iran announced that it has begun producing 60% enriched uranium At this Natanz site, close to 90% of what is needed to make a nuclear bomb.

Retaliatory measures

The 60% limit is higher than the 3.67% limit set by the 2015 accord between Tehran and major powers aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The agreement reached in Vienna between Iran and the West aims to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons: an objective Iran has always refused to follow. In 2018, Tehran gradually freed itself from its obligations following the US withdrawal from the deal and the reintroduction of US sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Read our decryption: Iranian nuclear power: Why does the deal put a maximum limit on uranium enrichment?

Iran has agreed to freeze its enrichment activities at Fordow, an underground plant located 180 kilometers south of Tehran. However, the platform came back into service in 2019 and was recently revamped for better performance. Tehran began the process of producing 20% ​​enriched uranium at the plant in January 2021.

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On Sunday, Iran announced retaliatory measures against the IAEA following a resolution criticizing Tehran’s lack of cooperation put forward by the United States and three European countries, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The resolution, voted on Nov. 17 by the agency’s board of governors, is the second this year since June.

The reason for the disagreement on the origin of the two resolutions is the same: lack of answers “Technically reliable” Regarding traces of enriched uranium found at three undeclared locations. The file is one of the key points in the April 2021 start of negotiations in Vienna to renew the 2015 deal impasse. Tehran is calling for the IAEA’s investigation to be closed in order to reach a compromise.

America’s “Deep Concern”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday “deep concern” vs. United States “For Advancement of Nuclear Power Programme” Iranian. In a joint statement, France, Germany and the UK condemned Iran’s expansion of its nuclear program. “empty” 2015 agreement “its contents”.

Iran announced on Sunday that the measures had been implemented on the same day “In the presence of IAEA inspectors” At Natanz and Fordo sites. “As a second step in response to the resolution, Iran injected gas into two more waterfalls [de centrifugeuses] IR-2m and IR-4 at Natanz site »ISNA news agency said on Tuesday.

Far from the 3.67% limit, Iran enriches more: with 386.4 kg at 20% (against 331.9 kg previously) and 62.3 kg at 60% (against 55.6 kg). The ramp-up comes as the IAEA faces a sharp tightening of its inspections.

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As Iran has been rocked by protests since the September 16 death of Mahza Amini, a 22-year-old young woman, after being arrested by the morality police, restarting dialogue seems increasingly difficult.

read more: The article is reserved for our subscribers In Iran, the uprising is “already affecting society as a whole”.

The world with AFP