May 7, 2021

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Iran to Introduce 1,000 More Centrifuges at Natanz Nuclear Site

Iran will introduce 1,000 more centrifuges at Natanz nuclear site, chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi said.

Iran also started enrichment of uranium to 60 percent on Tuesday, the IRNA news agency reported, citing the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister.  The official also said that Iran had informed IAEA of the levels of uranium enrichment, Press TV reported.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) reported that the Natanz facility had suffered an incident involving its electricity distribution network last Sunday. AEOI chief Ali Akbar Salehi described the incident as “nuclear terrorism.” The Iranian authorities later said all damaged centrifuges would be replaced with better ones.

Israel’s Kan channel reported citing intelligence sources that the Natanz facility was subjected to a cyberattack involving Israel’s foreign intelligence service Mossad.

The incident at the Natanz plant occurred amid the Vienna talks dedicated to bringing back the US, which withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has recently vowed revenge on Israel but noted that the act of “nuclear terrorism & a war crime”, as he described the incident, would not prompt Tehran to pull out of the talks.

“The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions.… We will not fall into their trap… We will not allow this act of sabotage to affect the nuclear talks.… But we will take our revenge against the Zionists,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

Iran has been stepping up uranium enrichment beyond limits agreed upon as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which were set after the Trump administration unilaterally pulled the US out of the pact and re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic republic in 2018. Iran said it was ready to recommit to the deal if the US scrapped restrictions but refused to renegotiate its terms.

The JCPOA, or the Nuclear deal, was signed by Iran with China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, the US, and the EU. It required Tehran to curb its nuclear programme and downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief.

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