Iran has started enriching uranium at its underground Natanz plant with a second type of advanced centrifuge, the IR-4, the UN nuclear watchdog said in a report reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday.
The move is a further breach of Tehran’s nuclear deal in 2015 with major powers.
Iran has recently speeded its ongoing breaches of the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear activities, apparently to pressure US President Joe Biden to lift sanctions against Tehran.
“On 15 March 2021, the Agency verified that Iran began feeding the cascade of 174 IR-4 centrifuges already installed at FEP with natural UF6,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in the report to member states dated Monday, referring to uranium hexafluoride, the form in which uranium is fed into centrifuges for enrichment, Reuters reported .
“In summary, as of 15 March 2021, Iran was using 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges installed in 30 cascades, 522 IR-2m centrifuges installed in three cascades and 174 IR-4 centrifuges installed in one cascade, to enrich natural UF6 up to 5% U-235 at FEP,” the IAEA report said, referring to the fissile purity of uranium, , according to Reuters.
Iran is enriching up to 20% purity at another plant, Fordow.