The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered that Iran would have secretly modified two groups of machines that produce uranium enriched at its Fordo plant, violating the obligation to inform the agency about such steps.
This was reported on Wednesday by the IAEA director general, Rafael Grossi, who explained that two groups of centrifuges were interconnected in the plant, which began producing 60% enriched uranium since November last year, in response to criticism from the international organization.
The discovery was made by IAEA inspectors on May 21. during an unannounced inspection of the Fordo village nuclear facility, south of Tehran, where enrichment machines had been “significantly” modified since November.
Earlier, Grossi noted that Iran is thus approaching the 90 percent enrichment level needed to produce nuclear weapons, despite the fact that Iranian politicians have insisted for years that they do not want to develop nuclear weapons. However, the IAEA has not specified whether this new modification would have increased the level of Iranian enrichment, according to the aforementioned agency.
In response, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behruz Kamalvandi, stated that the report of the international organization is based on an “error” committed by an IAEA inspector.
Kamalvandi noted that Iran has contacted Grossi to explain what happened. and announced that he considers that “the information will be updated.” “One of the agency’s inspectors inadvertently reported some changes in the operating procedures at Fordo,” he explained, according to the Iranian news agency ISNA.
“The inspectors who were present at the scene were contacted to give explanations and the aforementioned inspector realized the error and, after coordinating with the IAEA secretariat, the matter was practically resolved,” he said.
Last week, Grossi declared before the European Parliament that Iran already had enough uranium to make several nuclear weapons if the material continued to be enriched. However, Tehran would still have a long way to go with technical and political obstacles before it could build such weapons, the IAEA director general stressed.
Iran pledged in 2015 to limit its nuclear program. In return, Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran were lifted. However, after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the pact in 2018, Tehran gradually reversed the restrictions. Negotiations to restore the nuclear pact have been frozen for months.
(With information from Europe Press Y Aristegui News)