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Tehran Downplays IAEA Report on Activities at Fordow Nuclear Plant

Tehran Downplays IAEA Report on Activities at Fordow Nuclear Plant

Friday, 3 February, 2023 - 11:00
Iran's nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami at a press conference on the sidelines of the opening of an exhibition of the nuclear program in Tehran (Mizan)

Iran has played down the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) report which exposed undeclared modifications being made to centrifuges at its Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP).

Tehran continues to enrich uranium with a purity of 60%, close to the 90% required to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said that the report was based on a “mistake” made by an IAEA inspector.

On Wednesday, the IAEA chided Iran for concealing a change in the interconnection between two sets of advanced devices that enrich uranium to a purity of up to 60% at the FFEP.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi, for his part, voiced concern about the Iranian move in the sensitive facility.

“The IAEA inspector's interpretation was incorrect, but he reported it to the agency … We immediately provided the explanation to the IAEA on the same day,” Iran's nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami said according to state media.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesperson for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told state media late Wednesday that the IAEA had mistakenly flagged the interconnection and that inspectors had revised their findings after being informed of the oversight.

During an unannounced inspection at the FFEP on January 21, the IAEA detected that “two IR-6 centrifuge cascades… were interconnected in a way that was substantially different from the mode of operation declared by Iran to the agency”, according to a confidential report seen by AFP.

Since late last year, the two centrifuge cascades have been used to produce uranium enriched to up to 60 percent, the report to member states added.

After the IAEA carried out the inspection at Fordo, Iran “subsequently informed the Agency that it had switched to this mode of operation on 16 January.”

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