This is a huge departure from its commitments. Iran started producing uranium enriched to 60% in its Fordo plant, after a critical resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Already, last year, Iran had announced that it had started producing 60% enriched uranium on the Natanz site (center), approaching the 90% needed to produce a atomic bomb.
This 60% threshold greatly exceeds that of 3.67% set by the 2015 agreement between Tehran and the major powers aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Under the agreement, Iran had agreed to freeze its enrichment activities at Fordo, an underground plant located 180 kilometers south of Tehran. The site had however been put back into service in 2019 and recently modified with a view to obtaining better efficiency.
A “serious reaction”
“The production ofuranium 60% enriched in Fordo began on Monday,” the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (AEIO), Mohammad Eslami, was quoted by the Isna news agency as saying on Tuesday. “We said that political pressure does not change anything and that the adoption of a resolution [à l’AIEA] will elicit a serious reaction” from Iran, he added.
The 2015 pact (JCPOA) offered Iran relief from international sanctions in return for guarantees that Tehran would not acquire atomic weapons, an objective that the Islamic Republic has always denied pursuing. However, after the removal of UNITED STATES of the JCPOA in 2018 and the reinstatement of US sanctions that are stifling its economy, Tehran has gradually freed itself from its obligations.
Washington denies Tehran having nuclear weapons
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which confirmed this resumption of production, “will inform Iran of its intention to increase the frequency and intensity of its verification activities”, declared its director general. . Across the Atlantic, a spokesman for the White House on Tuesday expressed the “deep concern” of the United States over the “progress” of the Iranian nuclear program.
“We continue to watch with deep concern not only the progress of Iran’s nuclear program but also the steady improvement in their ballistic missile capabilities,” said John Kirby, spokesman for Iran’s National Security Council. the White House.
Paris, Berlin and London condemn
He added, without giving further details: “We are going to make sure that the (American) president has all the options” necessary. “We certainly haven’t changed our point of view, which is that we won’t let Iran acquire nuclear weapons,” said John Kirby.
France, theGermany and the UK issued a joint statement in which they “condemn Iran’s latest steps, confirmed by the IAEA, aimed at further expanding its nuclear program”. They point out that by increasing its production capacities, Tehran “has taken significant new steps that empty” the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement “of its content”.