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Iran commissions new centrifuge cascades

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Iran announced on Saturday the commissioning of new cascades of modernized centrifuges to enrich uranium more quickly and whose use is prohibited under the terms of the Iranian nuclear agreement of 2015. These announcements come then that discussions are taking place in Vienna between the Islamic Republic and the other states parties to the 2015 agreement (Germany, China, France, Great Britain and Russia) on how to reintegrate the United States into this pact concluded in the Austrian capital.

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On Friday, a US official said on condition of anonymity that Washington had indirectly made “very serious” proposals to Iran to revive the deal and that the Americans expected some “reciprocity” from Iran. Islamic Republic. The measures announced with fanfare on Saturday by the Iranian executive do not go in this direction.

President Hassan Rohani officially inaugurated a line of 164 so-called IR-6 centrifuges and another of 30 IR-5, installed in the Natanz nuclear complex (central Iran), during a videoconference ceremony broadcast by state television. State television did not broadcast images of these waterfalls, but engineers in white coats working in duplex confirmed the commissioning of this line of centrifuges.

Dying agreement

The Vienna Accord has been dying since the United States unilaterally walked out of it three years later in 2018, under President Donald Trump, restoring an avalanche of economic and financial sanctions against Iran. In response, Tehran began to break away from its commitments from May 2019, and the pace has accelerated in recent months.

New US President Joe Biden has said he is ready to re-enter the deal, so to lift sanctions after negotiations. For its part, Iran says it is ready to return to the full and complete application of the text, on condition that the United States first lift all the sanctions it has reimposed or imposed against Tehran since 2018. Tehran refuses also to discuss directly with the United States at this stage.

The IR-5 and IR-6 centrifuges allow uranium to be enriched faster and in greater quantities than the “first generation” IR-1 centrifuges, the only ones that the Vienna Agreement allows Iran to use. . Hassan Rohani repeated during this ceremony organized for the “National Day of Nuclear Technology” that his country’s nuclear program was purely “peaceful”.

Until then, the exchanges which took place this week in Vienna between Iran and its partners on a relaunch of the agreement have been deemed “productive” by the European Union, which coordinates the discussions. According to Russia, in order to “maintain the positive momentum”, diplomats from countries still parties to the Vienna agreement “will meet again next week” in the Austrian capital. According to Tehran, this meeting is to take place on Wednesday, at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

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