Iran: Iran has confirmed that a centrifuge facility has been relocated to its underground Natanz nuclear site, according to state media, just days after the UN nuclear watchdog announced it had put surveillance cameras to monitor the new factory at Tehran’s request.
The official IRNA news agency published the information late Saturday, as diplomatic efforts to resurrect Iran’s shattered nuclear deal appear to have halted.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told the news agency that the activity had been relocated to a safer location.
In June, Iran’s centrifuge facility in Karaj was the subject of a sabotage assault, according to Iran. During the uncertainties surrounding the nuclear deal, Natanz has been the focus of sabotage efforts, which Iran has blamed on Israel.
“Unfortunately, we were forced to tighten security measures as a result of a terrorist attack against Karaj,” Kamalvandi said. “We moved an essential part of the machinery and transferred the rest to Natanz and Isfahan.” Another Iranian nuclear facility is located in Isfahan.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, based in Vienna, claimed on Thursday that it had installed cameras and removed seals from machinery at the new workshop in Natanz two days prior. These machines will produce centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows, which are critical components of systems that spin at high speeds to enrich uranium gas.
Iran’s talks with international powers in Vienna to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal have come to a halt. There is concern that if Iran pursues nuclear weapons, it will be closer to being able to build one.
Former President Donald Trump pulled the US from the nuclear deal four years ago and placed crippling sanctions on Iran. Meanwhile, Iran has significantly increased its nuclear research and development.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reiterated on Tuesday that talks on the deal “are proceeding well,” despite repeated statements from American officials that a deal to revive the accord might not happen.
Iran put advanced centrifuges into storage under IAEA supervision as part of the nuclear deal, while keeping its enrichment at 3.67 percent purity and its uranium stockpile at only 300 kilos.
Iran’s stockpile of all enriched uranium was approximately 3,200 kilos as of February 19, according to the IAEA. Some have been enhanced to 60% purity, which is just a technological step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Meanwhile, Iran has barred the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from viewing its security camera video.
If a compromise is not reached, Kamalvandi repeated Iran’s position that data from the cameras will not be provided to the UN nuclear agency.
Iran has argued for a long time that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. However, US intelligence services and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) think that Iran had a well-organized military nuclear program until 2003.