A Reuters report yesterday announced that Tehran is preparing to put a second cascade of IR-6 centrifuges in operation. IR-6s are advanced centrifuges with purity-level switch capability.
Tehran is boosting its enriching program at the super-defended Fordo nuclear facility. A Reuters article on the issue was based on a classified report from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
According to the Reuters, Tehran is making preparations to employ a second cluster of powerful IR-6 centrifuges at the underground site. The IR-6 centrifuges can facilitate the switching between various enrichment rates.
Iranian authorities were preparing to feed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas into the second cascade of IR-6 centrifuges, IAEA inspections confirmed on two days earlier. These centrifuges are located at Fordo, near the capital, in the province of Qom. UF6 injection to the centrifuges means the practical start of the second cascade in the system.
Fordo, situated deep beneath a mountain, is one of Iran‘s most critical nuclear facilities. The site is largely impenetrable to potential military infiltrations.
The new generation if Iranian centrifuges spins uranium on a higher speed, something amounting to a 10-time faster revolution. Tehran was previously restricted to solely utilizing the older generation of centrifuges as part of a nuclear agreement with Western governments. IAEA already confirmed that Iran has kicked off a cascade of IR-6 centrifuges at the same site four months ago.
Iran notified the UN nuclear inspector late last week that it had started the passivation of the cascades, the procedure that leads to the enrichment.
The IR-6 cascade includes changed sub-headers, according to the Reuters article. It can switch to enhancing at different purity levels because to this capability. Western officials have been concerned about the possibility because it allows Iran to swiftly switch to greater enrichment purities.
More IR-6 Centrifuges
“The Agency has yet to receive clarification from Iran as to which mode of production it intends to implement for the aforementioned cascade, following the completion of passivation,” part of the IAEA report said. Tehran has not clarified to International Atomic Energy Agency about its decision about the level of purification. Tehran has been purifying up to 20% level with a cascade of powerful IR-6 Centrifuges Since February.
Iranian other facility, in Natanz, has been enriching uranium on 60-percent level, a step closer to 90 percent weapons-grade material.
Iran’s infractions of the accord, which prohibits any enriching activity at Fordo site, have been increasing in recent month. Four years ago, former US President unilaterally withdrew from the pact, prompting Tehran’s response. Following the pullout from JCPOA, the US began imposing heavy sanctions on Tehran.
Tehran has also deactivated 27 video surveillance from nuclear installations on different sites in May. Tehran adopted the policy after the IAEA’s board of governors blasted it for unclear claims. Tehran was accused by the board of governors of failing to give access to reliable information on produced nuclear material discovered at three unregistered points across the country.
It also comes after months of gridlock over delayed discussions aimed at reinstating Iran’s nuclear pact with international powers. The original deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed seven years ago.
Washington’s failure to guarantee a full rewind to the pre-violation state stalled the negotiations. Iranian new policies may further complicate the circumstance for Biden administration, stock behind its strict policies.
The process could lead Iran into a threshold state, where no other measure could restore the advancements. Washington must make a decision; Getting back to the original deal or facing Iran as a nuclear threshold power.