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Iran builds new centrifuge rotor factory: nuclear chief

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Iran has built a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day, the head of its atomic agency said on Wednesday, upping the stakes in a confrontation with Washington over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work.

The announcement came a month after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he had ordered agencies to prepare to increase uranium enrichment capacity if a nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after Washington’s withdrawal from the pact.

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Under the terms of the 2015 agreement, which was also signed by Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. 

The other signatories have been scrambling to save the accord, arguing it offers the best way to stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb.

Iran has said it will wait to see what the other powers can do, but has signaled it is ready to get its enrichment activities back on track. It has regularly said its nuclear work is just for electricity generation and other peaceful projects.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the new factory did not in itself break the terms of the agreement.

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A spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the organization is aware of the announcement but has “no comment.”

“Instead of building this factory in the next seven or eight years, we built it during the negotiations but have not started it,” Salehi, said, according to state media.

“Of course, the [Supreme Leader] was completely informed and we gave him the necessary information at the time. And now that he has given the order this factory has started all its work.”

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The factory would have the capacity to build rotors for up to 60 IR-6 centrifuges per day, he added.

Separately, Salehi said that Iran now had a stockpile of up to 950 tons of uranium. He said Iran had imported 550 tons of uranium before the nuclear agreement and had acquired approximately another 400 tons after the agreement was finalized, bringing the total stockpile to between 900 and 950 tons.

Salehi did not specify where the additional 400 tons of uranium had come from.

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Last month, Salehi announced that Iran has begun working on infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility.

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; additional reporting by Kirsti Knolle in Vienna; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Richard Balmforth


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NY judge kicked off the bench after suggesting nooses are needed to ‘make America great again’

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A judge in upstate New York has been forced off the bench after he posted an image of a noose on his personal Facebook account -- and suggested it was needed to help "make America great again."

The Washington Post reports that officials on Tuesday revealed that Kyle R. Canning, a part-time judge, was relieved of his duties after the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded that his Facebook post showed an unacceptable level of political and racial bias.

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‘Body slammed him’: Gay man accuses church members of trying to ‘pray the gay away’ by assaulting him???????

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A 23-year old gay Oklahoma man is accusing local church members of assaulting him during a coordinated attempt to pray away his homosexuality. Sean Cormie says he and his partner went to church to appease his family, but he was lured to the pulpit, held down, and even punched as church members attempted a religious intervention he did not agree to.

“I wanted to go to church to make my mom proud and make her happy,” Cormie told KFOR.

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AT&T pressured employees to set up phony DirecTV Now accounts ahead of Time Warner merger: suit

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A new lawsuit accuses AT&T of pressuring employees to set up phony DirecTV Now accounts to boost subscription numbers ahead of a $85 billion merger with Time Warner.

The suit filed by a group of investors claims AT&T knowingly told shareholders that DirectTV Now was growing, when subscribers were actually leaving the platform, reported Markets Insider.

"Employees were taught and actively encouraged to convert activation fees that customers traditionally had to pay to upgrade their phones into DirecTV Now subscriptions by waiving the fee," the lawsuit claims.

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