US: Issue Over IR-5 Centrifuge Resolved

US: Issue Over IR-5 Centrifuge Resolved
US: Issue Over IR-5 Centrifuge Resolved

The United States says the issue over Iran’s feeding of uranium gas into an advanced centrifuge has been resolved.

Asked about the matter, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday that Iran had agreed to cease injecting the gas into the IR-5 centrifuge.

“We raised that issue with Iran as soon as the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Organization) reported it, and it was resolved immediately,” Reuters quoted Psaki as saying. “The Iranians have confirmed that they will not continue that activity as cited in the IAEA report, so it’s been resolved.”

She did not take a stance on whether the activity violated an interim agreement reached between Iran and the six major powers last November in Geneva under which Iran agreed to temporarily scale down parts of its nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

The UN nuclear agency issued a report about Iran to its members on Friday saying that since its previous report in September Iran had intermittently fed natural uranium gas into a so-called IR-5 centrifuge.

The IR-5 is one of several new centrifuge models that Iran has been seeking to develop to replace the IR-1 centrifuge that it now uses to produce refined uranium.  

The Institute for Science and International Security, a US think tank that closely tracks Iran’s nuclear program, issued an analysis claiming, “Iran may have violated (the interim accord) by starting to feed into one of its advanced centrifuges, namely the IR-5.”

But the Washington-based Arms Control Association, a research and advocacy group, said it saw no violation, adding, “No enriched uranium is being withdrawn from the machine.”

In response to the US think tank’s claim, the spokesperson for the Atomic Energy organization of Iran said Tehran had made no commitment to halt its nuclear research and development program under the Geneva accord.

“With doing so (feeding uranium gas into the IR-5 centrifuge) Iran has not violated either the safeguards agreements or the Joint Plan of Action (the Geneva deal) because Iran is not only allowed to feed gas into one machine, but it can feed gas into a cascade and is allowed to continue its research and development program,” Behrouz Kamalvandi told the Fars news agency on Sunday.