Uranium Enrichment at 60% Purity Initiated at Fordow

had already said that the political resolution would not change anything and its issuance would face serious reaction, Eslami said
Uranium Enrichment at 60% Purity Initiated at Fordow
Uranium Enrichment at 60% Purity Initiated at Fordow

Iran began enriching uranium at 60% purity in its facility at Fordow on Monday as part of its reciprocal measures in response to the anti-Iran resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors last week.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran confirmed the initiation of the process on the sidelines of an environmental event on Tuesday.

“We had already said that the political resolution would not change anything and its issuance would face serious reaction,” Mohammad Eslami was quoted as saying by ISNA.

The IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors passed a resolution on Thursday, ordering Iran to cooperate urgently with the agency's investigation into uranium traces allegedly found at three undeclared sites.

The board had earlier passed another resolution against Iran on the issue in June, but the new one’s wording was stronger and hinted at a future diplomatic escalation.

Tehran denounced the previous motion as “political” at the time and responded to it by removing surveillance cameras and other equipment from its nuclear facilities among other measures.

Eslami had earlier described the passing of the new resolution as “unconstructive” and “wrong”, warning of a strong response.

The Iranian foreign ministry announced on Monday that reciprocal steps have been initiated at two facilities in Fordow and Natanz.



Exact Details

The AEOI published the exact details of the moves on its website, which included the production of UF6 with a purity of 60% for the first time at Fordow.

This came in addition to the previous process of 60% uranium enrichment in Natanz which is still in progress.

The organization also started the process of replacing first generation centrifuge machines with advanced IR-6 centrifuges at the site, which would increase the output dramatically.

Furthermore, the AEOI has begun to set up eight new chains in Shop B (unit 1) at Fordow, but the process will take place in stages due to the need for infrastructures.

At the other site in Natanz, the organization has started to inject uranium gas into two chains of advanced IR-2M and IR-4 centrifuge machines.

The passivation process of two other chains of IR-2M and IR-4 centrifuges has also begun and the gas injection process will kick off within the next few days, according to the statement.

The process of launching the B1000 unit with the capacity of eight new units has started and will be carried out step-by-step due to the need for infrastructure preparation.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday that the IAEA has been informed of the steps which were implemented in the presence of its inspectors.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken, however, said on Tuesday he could not confirm whether Iran has begun refining uranium to 60% at the Fordow site.



Effective Reaction

The 2015 nuclear deal capped Iran’s uranium enrichment at 3.67% and allows it to use only first-generation IR-1 centrifuges in return for sanctions relief, but the deal has been unravelling since the Untied States pulled out in 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran.

Iran began a set of countermeasures until the removal of those sanctions under an agreement on the revival of the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Talks on restoring the JCPOA, however, have been stalled for months over final differences, including the safeguards issue with the IAEA.

Iran argues that the agency’s questions about uranium traces are based on fabricated data and the probe needs to end before any agreement on the deal.

Early this month, the AEOI sent a delegation to Vienna for talks on the issue and agreed to continue the discussions during a visit by IAEA officials to Tehran, but the trip was later cancelled due to new developments at the Board of Governors.

Tehran describes the IAEA censure motions as “politically-motivated” and aimed at ramping up pressure on the Islamic Republic to drop its demand.

The US, Germany, France and Britain, who sponsored the resolution, have signaled intentions to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for not complying with its nuclear obligations in their next move.

Kanaani said on Monday that any such unconstructive move would see a “serious, firm and effective reaction” by Iran.

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