By The Free Iranian Staff
On Tuesday, via a live televised statement on Iranian state-network, Hassan Rouhani announced the Islamic regime’s intention to resume uranium enrichment at the Fordow plant, an underground facility close to the central Iranian city of Qom.
“According to the agreement, we have 1000 centrifuges in Fordow which were supposed to be spinning but without feeding them gas. However, we will start feeding them gas from tomorrow,” Rouhani said on Tuesday. Rouhani said, in the latest act to distance itself from the JCPOA, starting Wednesday, Tehran will begin injecting uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges. The 2015 nuclear deal, stipulated that the machines would spin without gas injection and Iran agreed to freeze all enrichment activity at Fordow.
Rouhani added that all of the steps Iran has taken to reduce its commitments to the nuclear deal are reversible and Iran will uphold all of its commitments under the deal when the remaining signatories do the same.
Feeding uranium gas into spinning centrifuges allows for the separation of a highly radioactive form of uranium, U-235. This type of uranium can be split to produce power in nuclear reactors.
U-235 makes up less than 1 percent of natural uranium gas. It must make up 3-5 percent for the uranium gas to be of commercial use for nuclear power. Fuel for a nuclear weapon would require a 85-90 percent concentration of U-235.
Iran currently produces uranium enriched at 4.5 percent U-235, in breach of the 3.67 percent limit set by the JCPOA.
Also, in another violation of the nuclear deal, on Monday, the Islamic regime doubled the number of advanced IR-6 centrifuges now in operation.
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has has yet to comment on Rouhani’s announcement.
This move could jeopardize the little support Iran still enjoys among European powers.
Rouhani’s announcement was met with reaction from several international entities.
Led by France, European powers have concertedly pushed for Iran to resume nuclear deal negotiation with Washington. A plan drawn up by France, Britain and Germany to save the deal met Rouhani’s approval in early October.
However, the European Union warned Monday that its continued support for the deal depended on Tehran fulfilling its commitments.
“We have continued to urge Iran to reverse such steps without delay and to refrain from other measures that would undermine the nuclear deal,” Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini told reporters in Brussels.
France called on Iran to reverse its decision, adding that it was now awaiting a report from the international nuclear watchdog on the issue.
“The announcement by Iran on November 5 to increase its enrichment capacity goes against the Vienna agreement, which strictly limits activities in this area,” French foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily briefing. “We are waiting with our partners for the next IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) reports on Iran’s announcements and actions.”
She added that France remained committed to the deal and urged Iran to “fully adhere to its obligations and to cooperate fully with the IAEA, both in JCPOA (Iran deal) and its other nuclear obligations.”
Russia also expressed its concern over Iran’s decision to continue enriching uranium. “We are monitoring the development of the situation with concern,” Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.