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Iran activates 40 uranium-enrichment centrifuges in latest erosion of nuclear deal

Iran activates 40 uranium-enrichment centrifuges in latest erosion of nuclear deal
Iran has started up 40 advanced centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility, an Atomic Energy Organisation spokesman said Saturday, in a third step to scale back its commitments under the threatened nuclear deal.

“We have started lifting limitations on our research and development imposed by the [nuclear] deal,” Behrouz Kamalvandi told reporters, adding it would include the “development of more rapid and advanced centrifuges.” 

Kamalvandi said “all these steps are reversible if the other side fulfils its promises” set out in the 2015 nuclear agreement, or JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) with China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and EU. 

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The nuclear chief said Iran’s scaling down of its commitments is only in response to the US’ unilateral exit from the agreement last year, which was followed by its reissuing of crippling sanctions. 

The latest move comes as the Europeans failed to meet a 60-day deadline imposed by Tehran to fulfill their commitments under the deal and offset the effects of the sanctions with economic support.  

“As far as the other side does not implement their commitments, they should not expect Iran to fulfil its commitments,” Kamalvandi said, adding, “The Europeans should know that there is not much time left.” 

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Kamalvandi said Iran would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to continue monitoring its nuclear program. 

The Islamic Republic already increased its enriched uranium stockpile beyond the 300-kilogram cap set by the JCPOA, and began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the limit of 3.67 percent.

The announcement comes as the US issued further sanctions on Iran, targeting businesses allegedly linked to the Revolutionary Guard Corp as part of its policy to keep “maximum pressure” on the country. 

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