Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Tehran will start injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at its Fordow facility, the latest step away from its crumbling nuclear deal with world powers since the United States withdrew from the landmark accord last year, Al Jazeera reports.
In a televised statement on Tuesday, November 5, Rouhani said the 1,044 machines at the plant will be injected with the uranium gas from Wednesday.
Under the nuclear deal signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, these centrifuges are supposed to spin without gas injection. Tehran has gradually reduced commitments made under the accord – including uranium stockpile and enrichment limits – since being hit with renewed US sanctions last year.
Russia said on Tuesday it was concerned by Iran’s latest move, adding it would like the deal to remain in place.
“We are monitoring the development of the situation with concern,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “We support the preservation of this deal.”
A spokeswoman for the European Commission expressed similar concern, adding that “it is increasingly difficult to preserve” the deal.
Iran has two vast enrichment sites, at Natanz and Fordow. Much of Natanz is deep underground and Fordow is buried inside a mountain, which is widely believed to protect them from aerial bombardment. Before the deal, Iran used Fordow to enrich uranium to 20 percent fissile purity.