Iran prepares to increase enrichment rate for its uranium

Published on : 01/01/2021 – 23:05

Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its intention to produce uranium enriched to 20%, well above the threshold set by the 2015 Vienna Accord, we learned. Friday with the UN agency.

Tehran is increasing the pressure on the Iranian nuclear issue by informing the International Atomic Energy Agency of its intention to produce uranium enriched to 20%. A level well above the threshold set by the 2015 Vienna Agreement, the objective of which was to prevent any use for military purposes.

Iran has informed the Agency of its intention to enrich uranium at a rate of up to 20% in the Fordo underground plant, in order to comply with a law recently passed by the Iranian parliament “, a spokesperson told AFP on Friday January 1.

The letter, dated December 31, “did not specify when this enrichment activity would be implemented.”

Russian Ambassador to the IAEA Mikhail Ulyanov reported the information earlier on Twitter, citing a report submitted by Director General Rafael Grossi to the Board of Governors.

“It is an additional blow of pressure”, commented for AFP a diplomat based in Vienna, on condition of anonymity, while Iran frees itself more and more of its commitments.

According to the latest report available from the UN agency, published in November, Tehran was enriching uranium to a degree of purity higher than the limit provided for in the Vienna agreement (3.67%) but not exceeding 4.5% threshold, and still complied with the Agency’s very strict inspection regime.

Respond to targeted assassinations

But the case has been experiencing turmoil since the assassination at the end of November of an Iranian nuclear physicist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

In the aftermath of this attack attributed to Israel, the toughest wing in Tehran has pledged a response, and parliament passed a controversial law calling for the production and storage of “at least 120 kilograms per year of 20% enriched uranium. “and to” put an end “to the IAEA inspections, intended to verify that the country is not seeking to acquire the atomic bomb.

The Iranian government was opposed to this initiative denounced by the other signatories of the agreement, who had called in December Tehran not to “compromise the future”.

“The” democracies “cannot ask Iran to violate parliamentary legislation,” Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, however, warned.

The various stakeholders (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) are playing for time, basing hopes on the imminent arrival of Joe Biden at the head of the United States.

The Democrat has shown himself determined to save this pact (called JCPoA), undermined since the American withdrawal in May 2018, at the initiative of Donald Trump, and the reinstatement of economic sanctions by the United States.

The dismissal of the IAEA inspectors and the resumption of enrichment activities up to 20%, a level that Iran practiced before the conclusion of the Vienna agreement, could risk referring the Iranian nuclear issue to the Council. security policy and to permanently torpedo this text.

With AFP

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