On November 4th, Iran launched an array of 30 IR-6 centrifuges to produce enriched uranium at the Natanz hardened fuel enrichment plant, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Akbar Salehi announced.
“Today, we are witnessing the launch of the array of 30 IR-6 centrifuges,” Salehi said, further emphasizing that this would show the Islamic Republic’s “capacity and determination.”
Iran further announce that its enriched uranium production has reached five kilogrammes per day, more than 10 times the level two months ago when it abandoned a number of non-mandatory commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, the Iran Nuclear Deal).
Salehi said, “15 new generation centrifuges have been installed in the facility in recent two months. It’s a great achievement which shows our officials in AEOI have never stopped their operation”.
“Previously, we installed a chain of 20 centrifuges on April 9 added to another chain of 10 centrifuges and today’s installation increases the number of working centrifuges to 60,” the official said.
Salehi also noted that uranium enrichment capacities are approaching the level of the former before the conclusion of the JCPOA (about 11,000 SWU).
The priority measures in the framework of the third stage of reducing Iran’s obligations do not have any large-scale effect, but further work on cascading new centrifuges will dramatically increase Iran’s enrichment capacity.
The capacity of new Iranian centrifuges is many times higher than that of first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, so even with IR-2M and IR-4 it is about 3-5 times higher than with old IR-1s, and with the mentioned IR-6s about 10 times more powerful than first-generation IR-1 centrifuges.
Currently IR-8 is being tested, which has a 20 times higher capacity than IR-1. Therefore, if the JCPOA finally collapses, then due to the mass production and installation of cascades of new centrifuges, Iran may well bring enrichment facilities to the planned level of 190,000 SWU.
In addition, on November 4th, Iran, for the first time, showed the newly developed IR9 centrifuge. Iranian journalists claimed that it has a height of five meters and should have a capacity of 40-50 SWU.
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran today, for the first time, showed to a group of journalists its advanced IR-9 centrifuge, which is kept at Natanz nuclear facility, and has a height of five meters.
— Reza Khaasteh (@Khaaasteh) November 4, 2019
📸 سانتریفیوژهایی که طی دو ماه اخیر و در گام سوم ساخته راه اندازی و گازدهی شدند pic.twitter.com/FooUyNFOlz
— خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency) November 4, 2019
The U.N. nuclear watchdog said in September that Iran had informed the agency about making modifications to accommodate cascades – or interconnected clusters – of 164 of the IR-2m and IR-4 centrifuge. Cascades of the same size and type were scrapped under the nuclear agreement.
Iran remains far short of the enrichment level – 90 percent – seen as necessary to produce bomb-grade uranium.
The US just announced new sanctions on the Islamic Republic, while Tehran maintains that if Washington returns to its commitments under the Iran Nuclear Deal, it would also fully implement it.
“If they (Washington) return to their commitments, we also will go back to our commitments,” Salehi said, adding that “Iran is ready to fully implement the deal if its rights are respected.”
Iran has warned it might take further steps away from the deal this month if European powers who remain committed to the pact fail to shield its economy from U.S. penalties.
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