Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi announced on Monday that the country has accelerated uranium enrichment activities and its stockpile of enriched uranium is going to surpass a 300 kg limit within the next ten days.
Speaking to reporters at the Khandab heavy water facilities at the Arak nuclear site on Monday, Kamalvandi announced a further halt to certain commitments of Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal, including plans for an unlimited rise in the stockpile of enriched uranium.
Iran has increased the output of enriched uranium in Natanz nuclear site, he said, adding that a countdown started today.
“We will have surpassed the 300-kg limit (on stockpile of uranium) within ten days,” the spokesman said, stressing that the pace of uranium enrichment to 3.67 percent purity will also rise.
He further said that Iran may not need to export the surplus heavy water anymore in coming years.
The spokesman dismissed the US notion that the Arak heavy water facilities will be automatically closed if the Iranian heavy water finds no international customers, highlighting the local needs and the growing internal market for the product.
Kamalvandi went on to say that as soon as the European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal take “practical measures” to ensure Iran’s interest, Tehran will be able to return to the previous commitments.
More than 70 representatives of Iranian media visited the heavy water nuclear facilities of Arak on Monday to hear the announcement about a second step that Iran could take to scale back commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, US, Britain, France, and Germany) on July 14, 2015, reached a conclusion over the text of the 2015 nuclear deal.
The accord took effect in January 2016 and was supposed to terminate all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran all at once, but its implementation was hampered by the US policies and its eventual withdrawal from the deal.
On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear accord.
Following the US withdrawal, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.
However, the EU’s failure to ensure Iran’s economic interests forced Tehran to stop honoring certain commitments under JCPOA in May 2019.
Iran has also set a 60-day deadline for the remaining JCPOA parties to fulfill their undertakings.
In a meeting with Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid on Saturday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi reminded the EU parties that the two-month deadline will by no means be extended.
For the first step in halting certain commitments under the JCPOA, Iran has ceased to observe the limits on uranium enrichment and begun to produce an unlimited amount of heavy water at the Arak nuclear facility during the 60-day deadline.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)