Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi has announced that at least 1,000 advanced IR2M centrifuges will be installed at Natanz nuclear facility within three months.
He also told reporters on Thursday that Iran enriches uranium using 100% domestically produced technology, adding, ”It’s not only the enrichment. We have achieved a lot in the field of radiopharmaceuticals, and yellowcake production.”
The announcement comes a few weeks after Kamalvandi pointed out that the Islamic Republic had produced its first uranium product (UF6) since restarting enrichment to a purity level of 20 percent.
Considering the previous experience of enrichment at the Fordow [nuclear] facility, the new production line for enriching uranium to 20% was prepared very quickly, the spokesman pointed out on Monday.
Kamalvandi also signalled Iran's readiness to enrich uranium at purity levels beyond 20 percent in the immediate future.
Iran Kicks Off 20 Percent Uranium Enrichment
The statement followed Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei singling out President Hassan Rouhani’s previous order pertaining to the beginning of 20-percent uranium enrichment. Rabiei added that "the process of injecting gas [into centrifuges] has started after informing the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]."
The spokesman was echoed by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who tweeted at the time that that the Islamic Republic had "resumed 20% [uranium] enrichment", in line with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Our remedial action conforms fully with Para 36 of JCPOA, after years of noncompliance by several other JCPOA participants. Our measures are fully reversible upon full compliance by all," the Iranian foreign minister stressed.
The move came after the Iranian parliament in November 2020 passed a bill dubbed "The Strategic Measure for the Removal of Sanctions", which stipulated intensifying efforts in nuclear research in the wake of the assassination of top Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The document stipulates Iran increasing the uranium enrichment level to 20 percent or more.
The 2015 nuclear deal saw international economic sanctions lowered against Iran in exchange for its agreement not to develop nuclear weapons and to accept strict limits on its production of refined uranium.
Then-US President Donald Trump claimed Iran had been secretly violating the terms of the deal, but other signatories disagreed and remained within its confines.
US President-elect Joe Biden has indicated Washington’s willingness to return to the deal, with Iran insisting that the White House should first lift its sanctions against the Islamic Republic.