Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran would begin injecting uranium gas into more than 1,000 centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear research facility. Rouhani says Iran is making the move in response to a “lack of commitment” to the nuclear deal on the part of the United States.
Fordow had been designated a “research” site, but now that Iran will begin enriching uranium there, it will be considered a full-blown nuclear facility.
The world is apparently “alarmed” at the news.
Iran has stepped up work at its underground Fordow nuclear facility, state TV reported on Wednesday, a move France said showed for the first time that Tehran explicitly planned to quit a deal with world powers that curbed its atomic work.
Russia also voiced alarm at Iran’s decision to start injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at Fordow, a move that further distances Iran from the accord. A central aim of the agreement was to extend the time Iran would need to build a nuclear weapon, if it chose to, to a year from about 2-3 months.
In fact, the key to faster enrichment and a quicker nuclear weapon time frame is building better centrifuges. And Iran has been busy since 2015 doing just that.
Mr Kamalvandi announced the new measures on Saturday.
He told a news conference that Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency had activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges – which could enrich high-quality uranium.
New centrifuges would be developed to meet the country’s needs, he said.
He added that Iran’s steps were reversible – but this depended on other partners returning to their obligations under the deal.
In the meantime, Iran would continue to allow inspections by the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The nuclear agreement, stupidly, prevented Iran from enriching uranium but allowed them to make centrifuges that ran 50 times faster than their old ones.
Iran’s nuclear weapons program hasn’t missed a beat.
French President Emmanuel Macron said what everyone already knows: Iran plans to quit the nuclear agreement. “I think that for the first time, Iran has decided in an explicit and blunt manner to leave the JCPOA (nuclear) agreement, which marks a profound shift,” said Macron.
That may be true in a technical sense. But Iran has already shown they have no intention of being faithful to the agreement. Even before Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the JCPOA, Iran was demanding the return of highly enriched uranium from Russia. They had sent the uranium to Moscow in accordance with the nuclear agreement, but demanded its return in direct violation of the accord.
In truth, the West was deluding itself about this agreement all along. Since it was not carefully negotiated, Iran was able to claim its own interpretation of many aspects of the deal, giving the lie to President Obama’s claims they had Iran “in a box.”
Any formal withdrawal from the agreement by Iran now would be window dressing. They were ever only interested in using the deal as cover for their bomb-making program.