The first shipment of enriched uranium was received on Thursday at a nuclear facility in Fordo, Iran, the Iranian press reported
“The supply of gas to centrifuges and the production of enriched uranium began in the first minutes of Thursday,” Iran’s Mehr news agency reported.
This is the first consignment of uranium received since the reopening of the facility as part of the next phase of Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) on the nuclear programme.
The work is being supervised by experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the agency said.
Work at the facility in Fordo
On Wednesday, November 6, it became known that Iranian specialists began pumping gas into centrifuges at the nuclear facility in Fordo as part of the fourth phase of Tehran’s reduction of obligations under the JCPOA. Earlier, the head of the Iranian Nuclear Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, announced that uranium enrichment to 5% would begin on Wednesday at the Fordo facility.
At the same time, Ali Akbar Salehi stressed that at the moment a decision has been made not to bring the level of uranium enrichment to 20%.
On November 6, a representative of the Iranian Nuclear Energy Organization, Behruz Kamalvandi, reported that Iranian experts will bring the uranium enrichment level at the Fordo facility to 4.5% by November 9. Kamalvandi also said that about 2 tons of gas, uranium hexafluoride, is located at the Fordo facility, and its reserves will gradually increase.
The Fordo decision is Iran’s fourth step to reduce nuclear obligations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday. He noted that the fourth stage of the reduction of Iran’s obligations can be canceled, as well as the previous three if the remaining participants of the JCPOA “fulfill their obligations”.
Reduction of Iranian obligations under the JCPOA
Iran has been steadily reducing its JCPOA obligations since the U.S. withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and reinstated sanctions lifted from Tehran as part of the nuclear deal.
On May 8, 2019, Tehran announced the first phase of the reduction of obligations under the JCPOA, giving the “European trio” – Great Britain, France and Germany 60 days to satisfy its economic interests. Sixty days later, on 7 July, Iran embarked on the second phase of the reduction, giving another 60 days to meet Tehran’s needs.
On September 7, Iran announced that it had moved on to the third phase of reducing its obligations under the JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran reported that the third phase of the reduction in liabilities implies the complete lifting of any restrictions on nuclear research by Iran. He also said that Tehran has the right to bring the level of uranium enrichment to 20%. But he specified that Iran does not intend to resume uranium enrichment by 20% at the moment and will instead focus on increasing the stockpile of uranium enriched by 4.5%.