Iran announced that it has started producing uranium-metal based fuel for its research reactor in Tehran. Thus, Iran once again violated the international nuclear agreement signed in 2015.
Kazim Garibabadi, the United Nations Representative to Iran, said on Twitter: “Research and development work has started for the Tehran Research Reactor in connection with the production of an advanced type of fuel. In the first stage, natural uranium will be used to produce uranium metal. ”
Garibabadi noted that they informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about their research.
The agreement signed in 2015 specifically banned research and development activities in plutonium or uranium metallurgy. It was stated that 10 years after the agreement was in force, if Iran sought metal-based fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, it would need approval from other parties of the agreement.
Uranium metal is considered a sensitive issue that seems likely to be used in nuclear weapons. The IAEA had investigated the possible past use of uranium metal by Iran before the 2015 nuclear agreement was signed. Iran, on the other hand, states that it has never tried to produce nuclear weapons and will not work from now on.
A law passed by the strictly conservative-majority parliament in Iran in December included strengthening the government’s nuclear stance and the start of the metal uranium factory in Isfahan within five months.
The law also included Tehran increasing uranium enrichment activities if US sanctions were not relieved by February 21, and revoke the broader monitoring powers granted to the IAEA, limiting these powers to certain nuclear sites only.
Democrat Joe Biden, winner of the US November 3 elections, is expected to try to reintroduce the US into the nuclear deal he left in 2018, after taking office on January 20. It is estimated that Iran’s recent enrichment of 20 percent uranium in the Ferda nuclear underground facility may complicate Biden’s efforts.
Tehran gradually began violating the 2015 nuclear deal from 2019, after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in 2018 and reintroduced sanctions.
The US puts two more Iranian institutions on the sanctions list
The United States, on Wednesday, put two institutions and subordinate institutions affiliated to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the sanctions list.
The list includes the Imam Khomeini’s Implementation Center (EIKO) and Astan Kuds Razavi (AQR) institutions, leaders and affiliated subsidiaries.
“EIKO systematically violates the rights of political opponents, religious minorities and Iranians in exile by seizing its land and property,” the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
The sanctions include freezing the assets of the individuals and institutions they target in the US. In addition, it is envisaged that those who do business with these institutions and persons will be subject to sanctions.