In an Iranian nuclear facility, uranium enrichment has been increased, according to a spokesman. Iran’s President Ruhani considers the move to be politically unwise.
Iran has started the controversial increase in its uranium enrichment at the Fordo nuclear facility south of the capital Tehran. “The technical procedure for uranium enrichment to 20 percent began a few hours ago in Fordo,” said government spokesman Ali Rabiei on Monday on the government portal Dolat.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been informed about the process and the new Atomic Energy Act, which among other things provides for an increase in uranium enrichment to 20 percent.
President Ruhani against the new nuclear law
The procedure is in line with the new Atomic Energy Act passed by Parliament. “The law must be implemented despite concerns within the government,” said the spokesman. Both the Iranian nuclear energy organization AEOI and President Hassan Ruhani are against the new nuclear law. According to the constitution, however, they have to implement the laws passed in parliament.
The Atomic Energy Act was passed by hardliners and government opponents in parliament at the end of November. According to this, the AEOI is supposed to produce and store 120 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent per year. Politically delicate is Iran’s withdrawal from the additional protocol of the IAEA, as provided for in the law, which would restrict or even forbid UN inspectors’ access to Iranian nuclear facilities. The law violates the Vienna nuclear deal in all respects, with which Iran should be kept from a nuclear weapons program.
According to Ruhani, the law endangers diplomatic efforts
President Ruhani thinks the law is politically unwise and sees it in the context of an internal power struggle ahead of the presidential election in June. In his view, the law would jeopardize diplomatic efforts to save the 2015 Vienna nuclear deal after the election of American President-elect Joe Biden, who was sworn in on January 20, took office.
The incumbent US President Donald Trump left the nuclear deal in 2018. Tehran is hoping for the lifting of the related US sanctions that plunged the country into the worst economic crisis in recent history.