Sun, Sep 08, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Iran starts boosting uranium stockpile, vows transparency

AFP, TEHRAN

Iran has started up advanced centrifuges to boost its stockpile of enriched uranium, but would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to continue monitoring its nuclear program, an Iranian Atomic Energy Organization spokesman said yesterday.

The Iranian agency had activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges as a third step in the Islamic Republic’s reduction of its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal, Behrouz Kamalvandi said.

“The centrifuge machines, as they are engaged in research and development, will help with increasing the stockpile,” Kamalvandi told reporters. “The capacity of these machines is many times more than the previous machines. This started as of yesterday [Friday].”

However, Kamalvandi said that Iran would allow the UN atomic agency to continue monitoring its nuclear program, as it has done under the 2015 accord with major powers.

“Regarding the monitoring and accesses of the IAEA ... so that everything is clear [Iran’s] commitments regarding transparency will be followed as before,” Kamalvandi said.

Iran and three European countries — Britain, France and Germany — have been engaged in talks to save the nuclear deal that has been unraveling since the US withdrew from it in May last year.

Iran had warned that it would carry out a third round of cuts to its commitments unless other parties to the deal offset the effects of US sanctions in return for its continued compliance.

It has already hit back twice with countermeasures in response to the US withdrawal from the deal, which promised it relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

On July 1, Iran said that it had increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to beyond the 300kg maximum set by the deal.

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