The head of Iran's nuclear program, Ali Akbar Salehi, has announced that the country is now operating 60 IR-6 advanced centrifuges, which is twice the amount that was previously known, and which appears to be a violation of the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA) also known as the Iranian nuclear deal.
He also declared that Iran is now working on a prototype centrifuge which would be 50 times faster as those that are allowed by JCPOA.
Salehi made this reveal to state television on the 40th anniversary of the US embassy takeover in Tehran, adding that the IR-6 centrifuges are capable of producing enriched uranium 10 times as fast as the first generation IR-1 centrifuges that were permitted by the deal which limited Iran to using only 5,060 of the IR-1s.
This development comes as Tehran moves to scale back on its commitments under the JCPOA - an agreement that was signed between Iran and P5+1 (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, China, France and Germany), whose goal was to have Tehran curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
The Deal Falls Through
In May 2018, the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA, and began reintroducing tough banking and energy-related sanctions against Tehran. The US also threatened to slap secondary sanctions against any country buying oil from Iran.
One year later, Tehran announced its decision to partially suspend some obligations under the JCPOA deal, also giving the other signatories 60 days to save the accord by facilitating oil exports and trade with Iran.
When that deadline expired, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi announced that his country was ready to begin enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent level set in the JCPOA, adding that Tehran would continue to gradually abandon its nuclear commitments every 60 days.