Iran injects gas in new centrifuges as atomic deal unravels

Iran injects gas in new centrifuges as atomic deal unravels

Iran injects gas in new centrifuges as atomic deal unravels

0
Get started on your Homeland Security Degree at American Military University.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran injected uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear complex early Thursday, taking its most-significant step away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Tehran meanwhile also acknowledged blocking an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency from visiting its nuclear site at Natanz last week, the first known case of a United Nations inspector being blocked amid heightened tensions over its atomic program.

These latest steps put additional pressure on Europe to offer Iran a way to sell its crude oil abroad despite the U.S. sanctions imposed on the country since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal over a year ago.

The gas injection began after midnight at Fordo, a facility built under a mountain north of the Shiite holy city of Qom, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said. A UN official from the IAEA witnessed the injection, it said. The centrifuges ultimately will begin enriching uranium up to 4.5%, which is just beyond the limits of the nuclear deal, but nowhere near weapons-grade levels of 90%.

Fordo’s 1,044 centrifuges previously spun without uranium gas for enrichment under the deal, which saw Iran limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The deal had called for Fordo to become “a nuclear, physics and technology center.”

Iran acknowledged Fordo’s existence in 2009 amid a major pressure campaign by Western powers over Tehran’s nuclear program. The West feared Iran could use its program to build a nuclear weapon; Iran insists the program is for peaceful purposes.

Meanwhile, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said it had blocked a female IAEA inspector from its facility at Natanz, where centrifuges also enrich uranium. Iran said an alarm went off while the woman tried to enter the facility, causing officials there to stop her from going in.

The state-run IRNA news agency, citing Iran’s atomic agency, said the woman was stopped “due to concerns over carrying suspicious materials.” The inspector later left Iran without completing her visit, it said.

This marks the first known time of Iran blocking an inspector amid the tensions. Iran said it planned to address its decision to block the inspector at a meeting of the IAEA Thursday in Vienna.

Iranian officials repeatedly have stressed the steps taken so far, including going beyond the deal’s enrichment and stockpile limitations, could be reversed if Europe offers a way for it to avoid U.S. sanctions choking off its crude oil sales abroad. However, a European trade mechanism has yet to take hold and a French-proposed $15 billion line of credit has not emerged.

The collapse of the nuclear deal coincided with a tense summer of mysterious attacks on oil tankers and Saudi oil facilities that the U.S. blamed on Iran. Tehran denied the allegation, though it did seize oil tankers and shoot down a U.S. military surveillance drone.

 

This article was written by Jon Gambrell from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Comments

comments

Learn From The Leader

American Military University (AMU) is proud to be the #1 provider of higher education to the U.S. military, based on FY 2018 DoD tuition assistance data, as reported by Military Times, 2019. At AMU, you’ll find instructors who are former leaders in the military, national security, and the public sector who bring their field-tested skills and strategies into the online classroom. And we work to keep our curriculum and content relevant to help you stay ahead of industry trends. Join the 64,000 U.S. military men and women earning degrees at American Military University.

Request Information

Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. All fields except phone are required.

Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Ready to apply? Start your application today.

We value your privacy.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails, texts, and phone calls and messages from American Public University System, Inc. which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), its affiliates, and representatives. I understand that this consent is not a condition of enrollment or purchase.

You may withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details.

tags: