Iran adds machines at enrichment plant struck by blast: IAEA

By Francois Murphy VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has installed extra advanced centrifuges at its underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz that was hit by a blast last week, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog on Wednesday showed, deepening Iran's breaches of its nuclear deal with major powers. The explosion and a power outage damaged an unknown number of centrifuges and Iranian state TV has shown footage of machines that it says were replaced there

Reuters April 22, 2021 05:11:47 IST
Iran adds machines at enrichment plant struck by blast: IAEA

Iran adds machines at enrichment plant struck by blast IAEA

By Francois Murphy

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has installed extra advanced centrifuges at its underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz that was hit by a blast last week, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog on Wednesday showed, deepening Iran's breaches of its nuclear deal with major powers.

The explosion and a power outage damaged an unknown number of centrifuges and Iranian state TV has shown footage of machines that it says were replaced there. Iran has blamed Israel for the explosion. Israel has not commented formally on it.

The International Atomic Energy Agency report was not clear on how many centrifuges are in use but it gave "up to" numbers of advanced machines installed at the plant that were higher than previously indicated. The report made no mention of the explosion or its effect on the plant's activity.

"On 21 April 2021, the Agency verified at FEP that: ... six cascades of up to 1,044 IR-2m centrifuges; and two cascades of up to 348 IR-4 centrifuges ... were installed, of which a number were being used," the IAEA report to member states said, referring to the underground Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz. The report was seen by Reuters.

According to a previous report, the IAEA verified on March 31 that Iran was using 696 IR-2m machines and 174 IR-4 machines at the FEP.

Wednesday's report is the latest evidence that Iran is pressing ahead with the installation of the advanced machines, even though it is not allowed to use them to produce enriched uranium under the 2015 agreement.

The accord only lets Iran produce enriched uranium at its underground Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz with first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, which are far less efficient than the advanced models.

Wednesday's report also said Iran informed the IAEA that it plans to install four more cascades, or clusters, of IR-4 centrifuges at the FEP, where both of the IR-4 cascades it had planned have now been installed.

European parties to the agreement have seen progress in the first two rounds of indirect U.S.-Iran negotiations to revive the deal but said on Wednesday that there were still major hurdles to overcome.

The United States withdrew from the accord in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran under President Donald Trump, who objected to the deal and sought to wreck it. Iran responded as of 2019 by breaching many of the deal's restrictions on its nuclear activities.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Grant McCool)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones
Business

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones

By Stephen Nellis (Reuters) -Apple Inc on Monday said it will offer the ability to store state-issued identification cards digitally on iPhones and that it is working with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to accept the digital IDs at airports, one of several updates to the software that runs on its devices. It also showed updates to its FaceTime video chat app, adding the ability to schedule calls with multiple attendees and making the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions
Business

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions

LONDON (Reuters) - The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries' governments to relax COVID-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries. After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines, IAG unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely. The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S.

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options
Business

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's patience towards Britain over Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland is wearing thin and the bloc will consider its options should Britain continue its "confrontational path", an EU official said on Monday.