Iran to Boost Uranium Enrichment Capacity Following Leader’s Order: AEOI
Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi said the organization is starting a process to boost the country’s capacity to enrich uranium following an order by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.
Kamalvandi told ISNA news agency on Tuesday that Iran will inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the start of the process to increase the capacity to produce uranium hexafluoride (UF6), a chemical compound which serves as feedstock for centrifuges.
“In a letter that would be delivered to the IAEA by the Iranian mission in Vienna, it is announced that we will begin the process of increasing the capacity needed for the production of UF6 and UF4 gases on Monday as well as the construction and montage of a centrifuge rotor factory,” the spokesman said.
Kamalvandi went on to say that under the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran was supposed to achieve an enrichment capacity of at least 190,000 SWU (Separative Work Unit) by the end of the 15th year since the nuclear deal took effect in January 2016.
SWU is the standard measure of the effort required to separate isotopes of uranium during an enrichment process. 1SWU is equivalent to 1 kilogram of separative work.
“We had earlier estimated that we could reach an about 250,000-SWU capacity by the end of the 15th year, but given the Leader’s call for us to pursue a 190,000-SWU capacity, we should take measures for this to be realized faster,” he added.
Achieving the 190,000-SWU enrichment capacity means increasing efforts to set up workshops and factories and providing the infrastructure and other arrangements necessary for moving forward at a high speed and capacity, the spokesman went on to say.
He made the remarks hours after Ayatollah Khamenei ordered the AEOI to make preparations for the enrichment of uranium up to a level of 190,000 SWU without any delay in the framework provided by the JCPOA.
Speaking at a ceremony held at the Imam Khomeini Mausoleum in southern Tehran on Monday evening to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the passing away of Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Iranian nation and government cannot tolerate to be both sanctioned and be put in the “nuclear custody”.
US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement.
Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)