Iran announces sharp rise in enriched uranium production

Pakistan Forward and AFP


Iranian army officers line up at a graduation event in Iran on October 30. [Iranian Ministry of Defence]

TEHRAN -- Iran announced Monday (November 4) a more than tenfold increase in enriched uranium production following a series of steps back from commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran has developed two new advanced centrifuges, one of which is undergoing testing, said Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.

Enriched uranium production has reached 5kg per day, Salehi told reporters at the Natanz facility in central Iran in remarks broadcast by state TV.

That compares with the level of 450 grammes two months ago when it abandoned a number of commitments made under a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Tehran decided in May to suspend certain commitments under the accord.

Surging uranium production

On July 1, Iran said it had increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to beyond a 300kg maximum set by the deal, and a week later, it announced it had exceeded a 3.67% cap on the purity of its uranium stocks.

It fired up advanced centrifuges to boost its enriched uranium stockpiles on September 7.

Iranian engineers "have successfully built a prototype of IR-9, which is our newest machine, and also a model of a new machine called IR-s ... all these in two months", said Salehi.

Iran has removed all of its nuclear deal-approved IR-1 centrifuges and is using only advanced machines, leading to the sharp increase in enriched uranium production, he added.

Tensions in the Gulf region spiked in July when the US Navy destroyed an Iranian drone after it threatened an American naval vessel at the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz, following the seizure of a British oil tanker by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

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