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Iran launches advanced IR-6 uranium enrichment centrifuges to mark Day of Nuclear Technology

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-04-10 21:38

The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, before the beginning of a board of governors meeting, in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

TEHRAN - Iran celebrated its National Day of Nuclear Technology on Saturday with an event held simultaneously in Tehran and in nuclear sites in different Iranian cities, in which advanced IR-6 centrifuges started operating, and more than 100 other nuclear industry innovations were unveiled.

During the event, 164 IR-6 semi-industrial centrifuges were injected with gas and became fully operational at Iran's uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, and 30 IR-6S centrifuges entered the first phase of gas injection at the same plant, official news agency IRNA reported.

As broadcasted by state TV, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gave the order from Tehran to introduce uranium hexafluoride gas to the cascades in Natanz, and made a short speech to defend the accomplishments of Iran's nuclear program under his administration.

Rouhani said that the United States, European countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are "in debt" with Iran, since the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons obliges nuclear states and the IAEA to "help" signatories in their peaceful nuclear activities.

Apart from the launching of the IR-6 centrifuges in Natanz, other innovations unveiled in the exhibition included the manufacturing and assembly of the first prototype of IR-9S and IR-9-1B centrifuges, currently under mechanical testing, according to official information releases.

"Today, we have reached the IR-9 centrifuge with the capacity of 50 SWU in terms of technology, and they provide us products 50 to 60 times more than those of the old centrifuges," Ali-Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was quoted as saying at the event by Press TV.

Under the 2015 nuclear agreement, formally known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran is restricted to use only a number of uranium enrichment centrifuges of first generation (IR-1) until year 2025.

One year after the United States unilaterally abandoned the agreement in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, Tehran started reducing its compliance with its JCPOA obligations.

The current US administration has pledged to return to JCPOA, but demands Iran to fully comply with its commitments first, while Tehran demands Washington to lift all sanctions on Iran before it returns to full compliance.

The JCPOA Joint Commission resumed talks in Austria's capital to revive the deal this week, with the lifting of sanctions on Iran and nuclear implementation measures topping the agenda.

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