New IAEA report confirms JCPOA-related monitoring process underway in Iran: Envoy
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 03 March 2020 6:14 PM
Iran says a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shows the UN nuclear watchdog has kept up its monitoring and verification process inside the country concerning a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal.
Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran's permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations, was speaking to reporters on Tuesday, after the IAEA issued two reports – one regular report on Tehran's current nuclear program and the other detailing what it claims to be Tehran's denial of access to two sites the agency wanted to visit.
The IAEA is tasked with monitoring the technical implementation of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and six major world powers – the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – in 2015.
The IAEA's regular report "once again confirms that the agency's verification activities on the JCPOA have been going on since January 16, 2016," when the deal took effect, the official said.
The US unilaterally abandoned the JCPOA in May 2018 and unleashed the "toughest ever" sanctions against the Islamic Republic in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade. Under Washington's pressure, the three European signatories to the JCPOA have so far failed to protect Tehran's business interests.
In response, Iran began last May to gradually reduce its commitments as part of its legal rights under the JCPOA to both retaliate for Washington's departure and prompt the European trio to respect their obligations towards Tehran.
The country has so far taken five steps away from the deal under the IAEA's supervision, but says its counter-measures are reversible if the other parties begin to fulfill their side of the agreement.
On the latest IAEA report, Gharibabadi said the document shows Iran continues its UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) activities at the Fordow nuclear plant and that the country's level of enrichment stands at up to 4.5 percent, he noted. Tehran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA limit of 3.76 percent as part of its second step away from the accord.
As part of its fourth step in November 2019, Iran said it had officially started injecting gas into hundreds of centrifuges at underground Fordow nuclear plant. The operation started with the transfer of a 2,800-kilogram cylinder containing 2,000 kilograms of UF6 from Natanz nuclear facility to Fordow - near the city of Qom, where 1,044 centrifuges are installed.
The JCPOA allowed the first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Fordow to spin without uranium gas.
Gharibabdi further added that as confirmed by the IAEA report, Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium, as of February 19, 2020, had reached 1020.9 kilograms, beyond the 202.8 kilograms set by the JCPOA.
Iran stopped observing that limit as part of its first commitment reduction step.
The official further said the IAEA report also acknowledged that Iran has installed new centrifuges based on its own announcement.
Iran started up advanced centrifuges to boost the country's stockpile of enriched uranium and activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes as part of the third stage of its commitment suspension.
"This report emphasizes that Iran still continues to voluntarily and temporarily implement the Additional Protocol and verification of non-diversion of the declared material and activities in Iran will continue," the Iranian envoy added.
In another report released on Tuesday, the IAEA repeated the claim that it had identified three locations in Iran where the country possibly stored undeclared nuclear material or undertook nuclear-related activities without declaring it to international observers.
It said it had sent questions to Iran in three separate letters but received no answers.
"The agency identified a number of questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at three locations in Iran that had not been declared by Iran," the agency said in the report.
Commenting on the claims, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi demanded Iran's "clarifications" over the so-called undeclared sites.
Grossi told the AFP that "Iran must decide to cooperate in a clearer manner with the agency to give the necessary clarifications."
"The fact that we found traces (of uranium) is very important. That means there is the possibility of nuclear activities and material that are not under international supervision and about which we know not the origin or the intent," claimed the IAEA's head.
The IAEA has not specified the origin of the allegation, but since April 2018, the US and Israel have been busy making a fuss about unsubstantiated Tel Aviv-sourced allegations about undeclared nuclear activity by Tehran.
Iran has repeatedly warned the agency against attempts by the US under President Donald Trump and Israel – a staunch opponent of diplomacy with Iran – to put pressure on the IAEA with the goal of killing the JCPOA.
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