Iran Responds to UN Condemnations by Installing More Centrifuges at Fordow

A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. (Reuters)
A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. (Reuters)
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Iran Responds to UN Condemnations by Installing More Centrifuges at Fordow

A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. (Reuters)
A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. (Reuters)

Iran has rapidly installed extra uranium-enriching centrifuges at its Fordow site and begun setting up others, a UN nuclear watchdog report said in what diplomats described as limited retaliation to a resolution by the watchdog's board.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that diplomats said Iran was responding to last week's International Atomic Energy Agency board resolution against it by expanding its uranium-enrichment capacity at its two underground enrichment sites at Fordow and Natanz, but the escalation is not as big as many had feared.
Such resolutions taken by the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors anger Tehran, which typically responds by accelerating its nuclear activities.
Eighteen months earlier, Iran responded to a similar resolution by enriching uranium to up to 60% purity—close to weapons-grade—at a second site and announcing a significant expansion of its enrichment program.
“Iran has rapidly installed two more cascades, or clusters, of uranium-enriching centrifuges at its Fordow site and begun work on more while also planning others at its underground plant at Natanz,” the UN nuclear watchdog said in its report.
“On 9 and 10 June ... Iran informed the Agency that eight cascades each containing 174 IR-6 centrifuges would be installed over the next 3-4 weeks in Unit 1 of FFEP (Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant),” the confidential report sent to member states on Thursday said.

It added, “On 11 June 2024, the Agency verified at FFEP that Iran had completed the installation of IR-6 centrifuges in two cascades in Unit 1. Installation of IR-6 centrifuges in four additional cascades was ongoing,” referring of one of Iran's most advanced centrifuge models.

 



Despite Curfew, Deaths Mount in Bangladesh Student Protests

Commuters move along the road as Bangladesh soldiers stand guard following a curfew and the deployment of military forces in Dhaka on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
Commuters move along the road as Bangladesh soldiers stand guard following a curfew and the deployment of military forces in Dhaka on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
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Despite Curfew, Deaths Mount in Bangladesh Student Protests

Commuters move along the road as Bangladesh soldiers stand guard following a curfew and the deployment of military forces in Dhaka on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
Commuters move along the road as Bangladesh soldiers stand guard following a curfew and the deployment of military forces in Dhaka on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Munir UZ ZAMAN / AFP)

Police imposed a strict curfew across Bangladesh and military forces patrolled parts of the capital Saturday to quell further violence after days of clashes over the allocation of government jobs left several people dead and hundreds injured.
The curfew follows the deadliest day yet in the weeks of protests despite a ban on public gatherings. Reports vary on the number of people killed Friday, with Somoy TV reporting 43. An Associated Press reporter saw 23 bodies at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, but it was not immediately clear whether they all died on Friday.
Another 22 people died Thursday as protesting students attempted to impose a “complete shutdown” of the country. Several people were also killed Tuesday and Wednesday.
The protests, which began weeks ago but escalated sharply when violence erupted Tuesday, represent the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since she won a fourth consecutive term in office after elections in January that were boycotted by the main opposition groups.
Police and protesters clashed in the streets and at university campuses in Dhaka and other cities across the south Asian country. Authorities moved to block online communications by banning mobile and internet services. Some television news channels also went off the air, and the websites of most Bangladesh newspapers were not loading or were being updated.
The curfew began at midnight and is set to relax from noon to 2 p.m. to allow people to buy essentials before being put back in place until 10 a.m. Sunday. A “shoot-at-sight” order was also in place, giving security forces the authority to fire on mobs in extreme cases, said lawmaker Obaidul Quader, the general secretary of the ruling Awami League party.

The protesters are demanding an end to a quota system that reserves up to 30% of government jobs for relatives of veterans who fought in Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971 against Pakistan. They argue the system is discriminatory and benefits supporters of Hasina, whose Awami League party led the independence movement, and they want it replaced with a merit-based system.

Hasina has defended the quota system, saying that veterans deserve the highest respect for their contributions to the war, regardless of their political affiliation.

Representatives from the both sides met late Friday to find a resolution. At least three student leaders were part of the meeting in which they demanded a reform in the quota system, an opening of student dormitories across the country and the stepping down of university officials for failing to prevent violence on the campuses.
Law Minister Anisul Huq said the government was open to discussing the student leaders’ demands.

The protests are also backed by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party that has vowed to organize its own demonstrations with many of its supporters joining in the students’ protests.