Iran launches new centrifuges despite nuclear deal

Irán centriffuges

Iranian government officials stated on Monday that the country has doubled the number of operating advanced centrifuges, in a move that would violate the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Today we are witnessing the launch of an array of 30 IR-6 centrifuges,” Akbar Salehi Director of Iran’s Atomic Energy organization said. Now, the number of IR-6 has increased to 60

With these centrifuges, Iran can produce enriched uranium 10 times faster than with the first generation models.

Salehi also mentioned Iran has developed a prototype of the centrifuge with which it can enrich uranium 50 times faster. He added that the development of the IR-6 evidences the nation’s “capacity and determination”.

The announcement entails violating the limit imposed by the 2015 nuclear agreement that capped Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

Tehran has already gone beyond the limitations of uranium enrichment and storage. In this sense, it began using advanced centrifuges prohibited under the agreement.

Controversy surrounding the nuclear deal

According to the reports, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi traveled to the enrichment plant in Natanz on Monday, before the announcement.

The collapse of the nuclear deal coincided with a tense summer of mysterious attacks against Saudi oil facilities that the United States blamed on Iran. Tehran dismissed the accusation, although it seized oil tankers and shut down a U.S. unmanned surveillance drone.

The U.S. has increased its military presence in the Middle East, including the Saudi Arabia base, for the first time since the consequences of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Saudi Arabia and neighbors the United Arab Emirates are rumored to be in talks with Iran through secondary channels in order to alleviate tensions.

Last year, the U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran, once regarded as a master diplomatic move. The deal provided a framework in which Iran would end its nuclear activities and, in exchange, the international community would lift the paralyzing economic sanctions against it.

EU members, including Germany and France, have encouraged Iran to comply with the agreement in spite of the U.S. exit. But Tehran has continuously violated parts of the deal.

“In early September, they announced they would not comply with the nuclear agreement and we believe this is unacceptable,” Maas said through an interpreter.

The announcement comes in the midst of anti-U.S. protests

This announcement comes as Iran is commemorating the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, which lasted 444 days.

Chanting “Death to America”, the protesters gathered outside the old U.S. embassy in Tehran, while state TV broadcasted these images to the rest of the country.

“Thanks to God, today the revolution's seedlings have evolved into a fruitful and huge tree that its shadow has covered the entire” Middle East, said Abdolrahim Mousavi the commander of the Iranian army.

However, this year the commemoration of this event comes as Iran’s regional allies Iraq and Lebanon are facing general protests. The Iranian Consulate in Karbala, Iraq, a sacred Shiite city, was attacked at night. Three protesters died during the attack and 19 were injured, including 7 police officers.

For more information, check Energía16

See also: Iran confirms uranium enrichment over the established limit

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