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Iran to Cut Uranium Enrichment, Number of Centrifuges Once Nuclear Deal is Concluded

Iran to Cut Uranium Enrichment, Number of Centrifuges Once Nuclear Deal is Concluded

Thursday, 7 April, 2022 - 08:15
IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi (C), Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Mohammad Eslami (R) and his deputy Behrouz Kamalvandi (L) during a press conference in Tehran in March 2022. (AFP)

Iran said it will cut uranium enrichment capacity and the number of centrifuges if an agreement is reached in Vienna, the country’s nuclear chief said Wednesday.

The 2015 Iran nuclear, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), stipulates that Iran’s uranium enrichment would be limited to 5060 IR-1 centrifuges for ten years.

The agreement also allows Iran to enrich uranium in research and development without storing enriched uranium and obtaining more efficient centrifuges, such as IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, and IR-8.

According to Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Mohammad Eslami, Iran will stick to this limit once a new deal is reached.

In 2019, Iran announced the resumption of uranium enrichment, stepping further away from its deal with world powers after the United States pulled out of it.

It has gradually scaled back its commitments to the deal, under which it restrained its enrichment program in exchange for the removal of most international sanctions.

Meanwhile, Eslami said his country has handed over documents related to outstanding issues to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“We handed over the documents on March 20 to the agency. They are reviewing those documents and probably the agency's representatives will travel to Iran for further talks and then the IAEA will present its conclusion,” Eslami told a televised news conference, Reuters reported.

Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog last month agreed a three-month plan that in the best case will resolve the long-stalled issue of uranium particles found at old but undeclared sites in the country, removing an obstacle to reviving the Iran nuclear deal.

Eslami affirmed that one of the particles discovered by IAEA inspectors does not exist in Iran, without offering evidence or details.

He blamed regional archenemy Israel for “sowing doubts” about the nature of Iran’s nuclear program AP reported.

Israel has said it believes Iran would pursue a nuclear weapon, despite Western intelligence assessments indicating otherwise.

“The major topic discussed with the agency is the allegations and fabricated documents Israel prepares and submits on a regular basis.”

In response to a question on whether the IAEA considers espionage and unjustified documents on the Iranian program a reference in its investigation, Eslami said the IAEA can usually proceed from whatever source it gets the information, and it has no restrictions.

As a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran is obligated to explain the radioactive traces and to provide assurances that they are not being used as part of a nuclear weapons program.

The IAEA has staked its credibility on finding information about the sites, with its chief, Rafael Grossi, routinely lambasting Iran for its failure to answer where the radioactive particles came from and where they are now.

The IAEA in 2019 first discovered the traces of man-made uranium that suggested they were once connected to Iran’s nuclear program.

The agency has long said Iran had not given satisfactory answers on those issues, but in early March they announced a plan for a series of exchanges.

Grossi said last month he will aim to report his conclusion by the June 2022 (IAEA) Board of Governors' meeting, which begins on June 6.

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