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Nuclear Agency Official Says Iran's Enriched Uranium Stockpile Now Exceeded Threshold

Revolutionary Guard commanders and Guard's ideology instructors at Fordo enrichment plant with Ali-Asghar Zarean, Special Assistant to the chief of AEIO. January 25, 2020

Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium has exceeded 1,200 kilograms (2645 pounds) after taking the fifth and final step in reducing Iran's commitment to the nuclear agreement, a senior official of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Saturday.

On January 5, Iran declared taking the fifth and final step to reduce its commitments stipulated in the JCPOA, or the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that from then on, it would face no limitations in the operational field, including enrichment capacity, level of enriched uranium, amount of enriched material, as well as research and development.

Addressing a group of Revolutionary Guard commanders and ideology instructors for the military at Fordo enrichment plant on Saturday Ali-Asghar Zarean, Special Assistant to the chief of AEIO, said he was going to offer a "precise account of the level of enrichment, type and number of centrifuges and enrichment capacity" because the media often make confusing reports about these issues.

Zarean said before the conclusion of the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran produced 7.5kg of 5% enriched uranium per day but the capacity has now increased to 10kg per day.

According to Zarean currently 1044 centrifuges are in active use and a new generation of centrifuges will be unveiled on April 8, 2020.

In July, the IAEA said Iran exceeded both a 202.8-kg limit on its enriched uranium stock and its 3.67% cap on the fissile purity to which it is allowed to refine uranium. The latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran's stockpile on August 19, 2019, said that Iran "possessed about 357.4 kg of low enriched uranium (hexafluoride mass), all enriched below 5 percent, or the equivalent of 241.6 kg (uranium mass).

"Now, after taking the fifth step [in reducing commitments], the stockpile of enriched uranium has exceeded 1200kg (almost 2,645 pounds). The [existing] stockpile will grow at full speed with [continued enrichment]," he said but stopped short of announcing the purity of stockpiled uranium.

The Special Assistant to the CEO of Atomic Energy Organization also told the visitors to Fordo that Iran has shipped about 8.5 tons (about 17,000 pounds) of enriched uranium to Russia and received 400 tons of yellowcake (U308) in return to use in Iranian centrifuges.

The figure announced by Zarean on January 25 appears to be in contradiction with the earlier 11,340kg (roughly 25,000 pounds) announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency Ali Akbar Salehi in December 2015.

On December 29, 2015 in a statement John Kerry said Iran had completed a shipment of 25,000 pounds (11,000kg) of enriched uranium to Russia, the Chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency Ali-Akbar Salehi confirmed that by saying Iran had dispatched "around 11 tons of surplus enriched uranium" to Russia and received 200 tons of yellowcake in return.