Iran expands nuclear capacities further: IAEA

By AFP
June 14, 2024
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi speaks during an interview with Reuters in Tokyo, Japan, March 12, 2024. — Reuters

VIENNA: Iran is further expanding its nuclear capacities, the UN atomic watchdog said on Thursday, one week after the agency´s board of governors passed a resolution criticising Tehran´s lack of cooperation with the IAEA.

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The International Atomic Energy Agency informed its members that Tehran told it that it was installing more cascades at the enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow, according to a statement sent to AFP.

A diplomatic source deemed this development as “moderate”. A cascade is a series of centrifuges, machines used in the process of enriching uranium. The motion brought by Britain, France and Germany -- but opposed by China and Russia -- at the IAEA´s 35-nation board last week was the first of its kind since November 2022.

The resolution -- which Tehran slammed as “hasty and unwise” -- came amid an impasse over Iran´s escalating nuclear activities and as Western powers fear Tehran may be seeking to develop a nuclear weapon, a claim Iran denies.

Although symbolic in nature at this stage, the censure motion aims to raise diplomatic pressure on Iran, with the option to potentially refer the issue to the UN Security Council. In the past, similar resolutions have prompted Tehran to retaliate by removing surveillance cameras and other equipment from its nuclear facilities and ratcheting up its uranium enrichment activities.

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