Vienna – U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday that Iran has started cutting down on nuclear technology. This is to honor a deal made with six world powers on July this year. The agreement established that sanctions against the country will be lifted in exchange for some measures including reducing the number of centrifuges in operation and its stock of uranium.
Iran has disconnected almost a quarter of its uranium-enriching centrifuges, which can produce nuclear fuel, isotopes for research, or the core of an atomic bomb, in less than a month. This measure suggests that it is racing to implement the agreement that restricts its nuclear activities. However, the country is just cutting it down and not stopping it all together; a diplomat said the country is keeping thousands of machines.
Officials have been speculating about the speed at which Iran can dismantle the centrifuges, sensitive machines that spin at supersonic speeds to purify uranium to levels at which it can be used as fuel for potential weapons. Disconnecting and moving the machines without damaging the equipment is a long time process. Therefore, this is the step that is most likely to delay implementation of the deal, and consequently the lifting of sanctions.
The diplomats at the U.N’s International Atomic Energy Agency reported that all of the machines that have been taken out were previously inoperative. This will explain the speed at which the machines are being dismantled. Thousands of centrifuges that were spinning uranium into enriched levels used for fuel are no longer operational but remain on standby and can be restarted at any moment.
“They have been dismantling centrifuges that did not contain hexafluoride, dismantling centrifuges that have or have had hexafluoride is a much more complicated thing than the clean ones.” a senior diplomat said.
Under the July deal, Iran agreed to reduce its number of installed centrifuges to around 6,100 from 19,000, according to the United States. Of the remaining 6,100, only about 5,100 will be operating to enrich uranium. These levels are significantly below weapons-grade and at concentrations normally used to generate energy.
Sanctions are expected to be lifted next year. Then, the country expects to recover its share in global oil market, Iranian Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh claimed. The country is also planning to attract up to $100 billion of foreign investment to modernize the oil and gas sector.
Source: New York Times