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IAEA chastises Iran over Fordow uranium enrichment setup alteration

The modification was discovered during an unannounced inspection on Jan. 21 at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, a location built into a mountain where inspectors are bolstering checks after Iran stated it would drastically increase enrichment.

Recent activity at the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. Credit: ImageSat International.
Recent activity at the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. Credit: ImageSat International.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chastised Iran on Wednesday for modifying the connection between the two groups of high-tech machines at the Islamic Republic’s Fordow plant that enrich uranium to up to 60% purity, close to weapons grade.

The modification was discovered during an unannounced inspection on Jan. 21 at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), a location built into a mountain where inspectors are beefing up checks after Iran stated it would drastically increase enrichment.

In a confidential report to member states obtained by Reuters, the U.N. nuclear watchdog stated that “they were interconnected in a way that was substantially different from the mode of operation declared by Iran [to the IAEA].”

In a public statement summarizing that confidential report, the IAEA said its chief, Rafael Grossi, “is concerned that Iran implemented a substantial change in the design information of FFEP in relation to the production of high-enriched uranium without informing the agency in advance.”

“This is inconsistent with Iran’s obligations under its Safeguards Agreement and undermines the agency’s ability to adjust the safeguards approach for FFEP and implement effective safeguards measures at this facility,” he said.

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