June 5, The Iran Project – On Monday (June 4) Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to make preparations for enrichment of uranium up to a level of 190,000SWU without any delay.
Addressing a ceremony held at the Imam Khomeini Mausoleum in south Tehran to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the passing away of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Supreme Leader referred to Iran’s nuclear deal with the P5+1 group of countries, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“It seems from what they say that some European governments expect the Iranian nation to both put up with sanctions and give up its nuclear activities and continue to observe limitations [on its nuclear program]. I tell those governments that this bad dream will never come true,” the Leader stated.
In a meantime, Iran’s national nuclear agency said it is starting a process to boost the capacity of the country’s uranium enrichment within the framework of the 2015 nuclear agreement, and will notify the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about it.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for AEOI said that Iran will inform the IAEA about the start of the process to increase the capacity to produce uranium hexafluoride (UF6), a chemical compound which serves as feedstock for centrifuges.
“In a letter that would be delivered to the International Atomic Energy Agency by the Iranian mission in Vienna, it has been announced that we will begin the process of increasing the capacity needed for the production of UF6 and UF4 gases on Monday (June 4) as well as the construction and montage of a centrifuge rotor factory,” Kamalvandi noted.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday (just less than a day after Leader’s order), Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi announced that the country has begun work to prepare the infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at its Natanz enrichment facility, while respecting its commitments under 2015 nuclear deal.
He added that the country is capable of increasing the level of uranium enrichment capacity to 190,000 SWU (Separative Work Unit) within one and a half to two years.
For the production capacity of 190,000 SWU, among other things a hall to assemble centrifuges is needed, he said, noting that many of the preparations for it have been made and it is hoped that the hall would be fully prepared within one or two months.
“But this does not mean the mass production of centrifuges,” Salehi stressed, saying that facilities in this hall are in place so that if “the JCPOA collapses, God forbid, we will not (have to) seek to build a hall (from scratch)”.
“If conditions are ripe, I may explain tomorrow night at Natanz one of the projects we have in mind, which is a center for the production of new centrifuges,” he reiterated.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s pullout from the nuclear deal, vowing to reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
He also said Iran was in “pursuit of nuclear weapons,” a claim that contradicts numerous reports by the UN nuclear watchdog confirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear work and the country’s full compliance with the accord.