Iran adds more centrifuges in wider breach of nuclear deal

Iranian official announces additional enrichment of uranium in violation of international obligations.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A senior Iranian official said Tuesday that additional centrifuges have been installed, enriching even more uranium than is allowed and effectively increasing Iran’s violation of the nuclear deal.

“Thanks to our diligent nuclear scientists, two cascades of 348 IR2m centrifuges with almost 4 times the capacity of IR1 are now running with UF6 successfully in Natanz. Installation of 2 cascades of IR6 centrifuges has also been started in Fordow. There’s more to come soon,” tweeted Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador to the UN in Vienna, home to the world body’s nuclear watchdog agency the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Last month, Iran started enriching uranium to levels that European leaders have said could only be used for producing nuclear weapons.

Iran took the move apparently to increase pressure on the new administration of President Joe Biden to force the U.S. to return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal, that President Trump withdrew from in 2018, reimposing harsh economic sanctions on the regime in Tehran.

Iran’s IRNA news agency reported that the government justified the increased enrichment because of the U.S. “delay in fulfilling their obligations under the agreement, Iran began steps under IAEA oversight to reduce its obligations” under the JCPOA.

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Interviewed on CNN Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif repeated Iran’s demand that the U.S. first re-enter the nuclear deal before Iran would take any steps away from its accelerated pace of purifying uranium that is widely perceived as having only military use.

“U.S. should return to compliance. Iran will then immediately reverse remedial measures,” Zarif said.

In New York, the spokesman for Iran’s mission to the UN, Alireza Miryousefi, reiterated that Iran would not discuss any other issues or demands before a full American return to the nuclear agreement, saying “our defensive missile program is not up for negotiation.”

“The time for the United States to come back to the nuclear agreement is not unlimited,” Miryousefi said. “The United States has a limited window of opportunity, because President Biden does not want to portray himself as trying to take advantage of the failed policies of the former Trump administration.”