Iran enriching uranium at underground plant at Natanz, says UN watchdog IAEA

WION Web Team
Tehran Published: Mar 17, 2021, 11:52 AM(IST)

Iran's Natanz nuclear plant, 270 kms south of Tehran Photograph:( AFP )

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The Biden administration, along with its European allies, have been trying to salvage the pact as Iran said it was ready to go back to the JCPOA immediately after the United States goes back to the implementation of the agreement.

Iran has started enriching uranium at its underground plant in Natanz, according to a report by the UN's nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Reuters reported that the enrichment at Natanz was of the second type of advanced centrifuge, the IR-4.

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The IAEA report claimed that Iran has indicated that it plans to install a second cascade of IR-4 centrifuges at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP), although the installation hasn't begun as yet.

“In summary, as of 15 March 2021, Iran was using 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges installed in 30 cascades, 522 IR-2m centrifuges installed in three cascades and 174 IR-4 centrifuges installed in one cascade, to enrich natural UF6 up to 5% U-235 at FEP,” Reuters quoted the IAEA report as saying.

Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a video conference with the European Policy Centre think tank had said: "Europeans are used to compromise. Iran and the United States are not. The Americans are used to imposing, and we are used to resisting," asserting that a compromise was needed to end the nuclear deal deadlock.

The US had walked out of the 2015 nuclear deal under the Trump administration in 2018 and reimposed punishing sanctions on Tehran.

The Biden administration along with its European allies have been trying to salvage the pact as Iran said it was ready to go back to the JCPOA immediately after the United States goes back to the implementation of the agreement.

"The current US administration or the next administration will not be able to achieve a better deal with Iran than the JCPOA. Not with this government and not with any future government. This is the best possible deal," Zarif said.

However, the United States has said it will not offer Iran unilateral incentives to attend talks over compliance with the nuclear deal.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said: "If the Iranians are under the impression that, absent any movement on their part to resume full compliance with the (nuclear deal), that we will offer favours or unilateral gestures, well that's a misimpression."

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