Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered the country’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) to start enriching uranium at a 190,000 SWU level from Tuesday June 15, “within the frameworks of the JCPOA,” Iran’s nuclear deal with the West.
Khamenei, who was speaking on the anniversary of Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini’s death, also called on the IAEO, “to make other preparations President Hassan Rouhani had ordered earlier.”
Iran’s ability to do 190,000 SWU enrichment was one of its red lines before reaching the nuclear agreement with the West in 2015. SWU is the unit that measures Uranium isotopes separation.
Immediately after the United States’ withdrawal from the JCPOA, Rouhani ordered the IAEO “to get ready to enrich Uranium at industrial level without any limitations.”
However, Rouhani had said that he would wait for a few weeks to make sure other signatories to JCPOA would remain in the deal.
Nevertheless, Iran’s Uranium enrichment would be limited to 5060 old P-1 centrifuges for ten years based on JCPOA. Iran’s initial intention was to use 120,000 centrifuges.
The Iranian government’s spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht had said on May 15 that Iran would raise its enrichment level to 20% and higher in case Europe leaves the nuclear deal.
IAEO Chief Ali Akbar Salehi had also said earlier that Iran was capable of resuming 20% enrichment at its Fordo site within four days.
In an interview with Radio Farda, Nuclear Scientist Behrouz Bayat has termed the comment an exaggeration, saying that “20% enrichment is not impossible, but it cannot be done within a few days.”
Before the nuclear deal, Iran used to enrich Uranium at 3.5% although it increased the level to 20% for a short while.
Based on the JCPOA, Iran is committed to stop enrichment higher than 3.5 percent.
In his Monday’s speech, Khamenei said Europeans expect Iran to tolerate both the sanctions and nuclear limitations.
Addressing European governments, he said “This dream of yours will not come true. Iranians will not tolerate this,” adding “Some countries wish to impose on Iran a defective form of JCPOA, and some others inside Iran warn us about an upcoming war, but that is not true. That is propaganda for the enemy.”