Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says moving Iran’s nuclear centrifuges from Natanz to the Ferdo underground nuclear installation near Qom is a “further deviation” from several Security Council resolutions, which have called for the suspension of all activities related to nuclear enrichment in Iran.
Reuters reports that the IAEA is currently negotiating with Iran about an effective way of inspecting the nuclear activities at Ferdo.
On Sunday, Iranian nuclear official Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani told state broadcaster IRIB that the Natanz centrifuges were on their way to the Ferdo installation, with full attention paid to the standards demanded by such a task. He added that Iran’s uranium-enrichment capacity will soon increase threefold.
Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, described Iran’s decision as “troubling” and added: “The Iranian nuclear program offers no plausible reason for its existing enrichment of uranium up to nearly 20 percent nor ramping up this production nor moving centrifuges underground.”
She added that Iran’s insistence on enriching uranium only serves to reinforce international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said, however, that the transfer of uranium-enrichment activities from Natanz to Ferdo has already been reported to the IAEA.
Western countries fear that Iran’s nuclear activities could be a front for developing nuclear weapons, but Iran denies the accusations and insists that its activities are completely peaceful.
Amano said: “What we are doing is that we are monitoring and we are negotiating the new safeguard approach to verify the activities.”
In recent weeks, Russia has comes to the foreground of nuclear negotiations with Iran with its “step by step” proposal to restart nuclear talks between Iran and the G5+1 that reached an impasse last January.