IAEA to step up oversight at Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) intends to step up monitoring activities at Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility, News.az reports citing Reuters.

"Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today said Iran had started producing high enriched uranium - UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) enriched up to 60% - using the existing two cascades of IR-6 centrifuges in the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, in addition to such production that has taken place at Natanz since April 2021," the agency quoted IAEA as saying in a statement.

According to the report, Tehran plans to boost its production of low-enriched (to 5% or 20%) uranium in Fordow by installing 14 additional cascades of IR-6 centrifuges. Moreover, The Islamic Republic plans to step up nuclear enrichment operations at its underground Natanz Fuel Enrichment Facility and create a second production building with a capacity of over 100 centrifuge cascades there.

Iran’s ISNA news agency reported on Tuesday, citing the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, that Iran had started enriching uranium to 60% at the Fordow nuclear facility. The report said the decision had been made in response to a resolution on the Iranian nuclear program adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors. The document was drafted by the United States and three European countries (the United Kingdom, France and Germany).The agency also confirmed the use of IR-2m and IR-4 centrifuge cascades for uranium enrichment purposes at the Natanz facility.

The IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution on November 17, calling for compliance with the obligations under the safeguards agreement of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In addition, the IAEA demanded that Iran immediately explain the origin of nuclear material found at the country’s undeclared locations and provide related documents and access to those locations. As many as 26 out of the 35 member states voted in favor of the resolution, with five abstaining, while Russia and China voted against it.

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