Iran plans extra advanced machines at underground enrichment plant: IAEA

FILE PHOTO: Iranian soldiers stand guard on an anti-aircraft machine gun inside Natanz uranium enrichment facility
FILE PHOTO: Iranian soldiers stand guard on an anti-aircraft machine gun inside the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, 322km (200 miles) south of Iran's capital Tehran March 9, 2006. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

February 17, 2021

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog it plans to install more of its advanced IR-2m centrifuges at an underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, a report by the agency on Wednesday said, which would deepen a breach of Iran’s nuclear deal.

“Iran indicated it plans to install two additional cascades of 174 IR-2m centrifuges at FEP to enrich … up to 5% U-235. This will bring the total number of cascades of IR-2m centrifuges either planned, being installed, or operating in FEP to six,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report to member states obtained by Reuters.

An IAEA report on Feb. 1 said Iran had brought a second cascade, or cluster, of IR-2m centrifuges online at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) and was installing two more. Iran’s deal with major powers says it can only enrich at the FEP with far less efficient, first-generation IR-1 centrifuges.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Hugh Lawson)