Iran began on Monday to inject gas into the centrifuges at the Fordo plant to enrich uranium to 20% purity, in violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as JCPOA.
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabi explained that the process of injecting gas into the centrifuges began “a few hours ago” following the order of President Hasan Rohani to implement a recent law passed by Parliament.
Three days ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) informed that Iran had communicated to it its plans to enrich uranium to a purity of 20%, a level that it reached before the historic agreement of 2015.
According to the JCPOA, which limits Iran’s nuclear program to prevent Tehran from developing the atomic weapon, Iran cannot enrich uranium to a level higher than 3.67%.
Iran has already exceeded that maximum purity limit in 2019, but only to 4.5%. However, 20% enrichment is still far below the 90% required for a nuclear bomb.
Rabií emphasized, quoted by the official agency IRNA, that “in a few hours the first product UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) will be available”.
The government spokesman clarified that this process has been carried out after “taking measures such as informing the IAEA”.
This is the last of the measures adopted by Teheran that violate the nuclear agreement, signed in 2015 between Iran and six great powers (United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom).
Iran began to breach its obligations in 2019.
Biden against Iran
This new breach of the pact may hinder President-elect Joe Biden’s efforts to return to the JCPOA, as they expect both Iran and the other five signatory countries to do.
The decision comes after the Iranian Parliament passed a law last December. It stipulates, among other things, that Iran will produce and store 120 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium each year.
The law was approved a few days after the assassination of the prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fajrizadeh, of which Tehran has accused Israel.