On Monday Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesperson for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) announced on state television that Iran will be activating 500 more IR6 machines within the next two weeks. The purpose of these machines is to enrich Uranium, for which the Iranian Government maintains is for peaceful purposes. Iran’s critics believe that such enrichment can be used to develop nuclear weapons.
The IAEO spokesman said that the activation would be part of the previously stated “Strategic Action Plan to Lift Sanctions and Protect Iranian Nation’s Interest” and reach a goal of 190,000 ‘separate work units’ in order to fuel reactors at the Bushehr and Tehran Nuclear Power Plants.
The announcement came the same day that the U.S. Treasury, and State Departments announced a new round of Iran related economic sanctions on six companies based in Singapore, Hong Kong, and UAE. The U.S. accuses the affected companies of facilitating the sale of sanctioned Iranian oil.
According to the Institute for Science and International Security 600 IR6 centrifuges would be sufficient to produce enough weapons grade uranium for a nuclear device in one months’ time. By announcing the activation of 500 more machines, experts estimate that Iran now has almost 700 IR6 centrifuges in operation.
E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrel has been working on a last-ditch effort to revise the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) which was implemented by the Obama administration and canceled by the Trump administration. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian stated on Monday that Iran is “serious about reaching a strong, good and stable agreement”.
Also, on Monday France, the U.K. and the U.S. stressed that “Iran must never develop a nuclear weapon” and expressed regret that “despite intense diplomatic efforts, Iran has yet to seize the opportunity to restore full implementation of the JCPOA.”