A man stands outside a news kiosk in the Iranian capital Tehran on July 8 after the government announced that its uranium enrichment levels had passed 4.5%, in contravention of the 2015 nuclear accord. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian Nuclear Official: Our Advanced Centrifuges are Spinning

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s nuclear energy agency, told a Tehran news conference on Saturday that the country had revved up its advanced centrifuges. Their use was banned under a 2015 multilateral accord aimed at halting the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, but the deal began unraveling last year when the US withdrew and reinstated harsh sanctions. “We have started lifting limitations on our research and development imposed by the deal,” Kamalvandi said, citing the activation of 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges. This apparently is the third step Iran threatened to take as part of a campaign aimed at pressuring Europe to help it circumvent the sanctions. In July, Tehran announced it had begun enriching uranium beyond the 3.67% limit imposed by the accord. In August, it said it was no longer adhering to the 300-kg. limit on its stockpile. The advanced centrifuges would allow the Islamic Republic to continue this activity at a much faster rate. Yet Kamalvandi struck what sounded like a conciliatory note: “All these steps are reversible if the other side fulfils its promises,” he said, adding that the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog could continue monitoring Iran’s activities.

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