uranium enrichment resumed in Fordo's underground plant

The production and collection of enriched uranium began when the Vienna Agreement prohibited Tehran from carrying out enrichment activities at the plant.

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Satallite image of the Fordo plant, taken on November 1st. AP

Iran resumed Thursday, November 7, its uranium enrichment activities at the underground Fordo plant, according to its decision announced Tuesday to further reduce its commitments made to the international community in 2015 on its program nuclear.

"In the first minutes of the day of Thursday (…) production and collection of enriched uranium (has begun) in the Fordo facilities », about 180 km south of Tehran, announces a statement from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (OIEA). The text states that "All these activities were carried out under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency" (IAEA), the United Nations (UN) body responsible for monitoring the Iranian nuclear program.

In Vienna, a source close to the IAEA confirmed to Agence France-Presse on Wednesday that the Agency's inspectors were on site at Fordo, and that a special report on the situation in the plant should be handed over. quickly.

Read the analysis: In the nuclear, Iran's strategy aims to isolate the Americans while avoiding the irreparable

Pressure on the signatories of the agreement

IOMA spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said Wednesday that enriched uranium production at Fordo would be "Operational from midnight" in the night from Wednesday to Thursday.

Tehran had given a deadline to the states that are still in the Vienna agreement (China, France, United Kingdom, Russia and Germany) to help them overcome the consequences of the withdrawal of the United States from this pact. May 2018. It was just after the expiry of this deadline that President Hassan Rohani announced the resumption of frozen activities, the fourth phase of the Iranian commitment reduction plan launched in May, in response to the withdrawal of United States.

By this policy, Tehran intends to put pressure on the other parties to help it bypass the sanctions reinstated by Washington, which plunged its economy into a severe recession.

Iran says it remains attached to the agreement

Under the terms of the Vienna Agreement, Tehran has agreed to drastically reduce its nuclear activities – in order to guarantee their exclusively civilian nature – in exchange for the lifting of some of the international sanctions stifling its economy. The agreement forbids the Islamic Republic to carry out uranium enrichment activities in Fordo, an underground factory that has long been kept secret.

Read the decryption: Iranian nuclear: why does the agreement provide for a maximum uranium enrichment threshold?

The Islamic Republic wishes to remain committed to the survival of the agreement and to be ready to return to the full implementation of its commitments as soon as the other parties respect theirs, by taking concrete measures to meet its demands, and in particular by allowing him to export his oil.

But the announcement of the resumption of enrichment activities in Fordo has caused concern to the signatories of the Vienna agreement.

The Kremlin said "Observe with concern the development of the situation", while Paris, London, Berlin and the European Union (EU) have called on Tehran to reverse its decision. The EU urged Iran to refrain from further measures that could further undermine the Vienna Agreement and to make further " more difficult " his rescue.

"Not acceptable" for Berlin

In Beijing on Wednesday, Emmanuel Macron ruled that Iran had "Decided to go out of the box" of the agreement, "For the first time explicitly and (…) not limited.

It is "A profound change"added Macron:

"I will have discussions in the coming days, also with the Iranians, and we must collectively draw the consequences. "

"What President Rohani has announced is not acceptable"said the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. He called "Iran to reconsider all the measures it has taken since July and to fully respect its commitments" International.

Washington, which is leading Tehran with a policy of "Maximum pressure" aimed at forcing the Islamic Republic to conclude a new agreement on its nuclear program with "Best guarantees", reacted to the restart of Fordo's centrifuges by accusing Iran of continuing its "Nuclear blackmail".

Iran withdrew the accreditation of an IAEA inspector

Tehran withdrew the accreditation of an inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) following an incident last week at the entrance to the Natanz uranium enrichment plant , in central Iran, according to an official statement released Thursday, November 7

During a check, this inspector "Triggered an alarm", raising concern that she may bear on her "A suspicious product"said the statement from the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA).

As a result, the entry of the inspector on the site "Was prohibited", the statement added, without saying whether a suspicious product has actually been found on it.

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