Rouhani: Iran to resume uranium enrichment at Fordow plant

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Iran will resume uranium enrichment at its Fordow plant starting Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday, adding that Tehran will start injecting uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges in the latest step away from the 2015 nuclear deal.

President Hassan Rouhani made the statement in an address carried live by Iranian state TV on Tuesday.

Under Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, these machines are supposed to spin without gas injection.

Rouhani added that all of the steps Iran has taken to reduce its commitments to the nuclear deal are reversible and Iran will uphold all of its commitments under the deal when the remaining signatories do the same.

There was no immediate comment from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

Iran on Monday doubled the number of advanced IR-6 centrifuges now in operation in another violation of the nuclear deal.

Following Rouhani's statements, several entities reacted.

Russia expressed its concern over Iran's decision to continue enriching uranium.

"We are monitoring the development of the situation with concern," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"We support the preservation of this deal."

France called on Iran to reverse its decision, adding that it was now awaiting a report from the international nuclear watchdog on the issue.

“The announcement by Iran on November 5 to increase its enrichment capacity goes against the Vienna agreement, which strictly limits activities in this area,” French foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily briefing. “We are waiting with our partners for the next IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) reports on Iran’s announcements and actions.”

She added that France remained committed to the deal and urged Iran to “fully adhere to its obligations and to cooperate fully with the IAEA, both in JCPOA (Iran deal) and its other nuclear obligations.”

Iran’s decision to take a new step to reduce commitments to a landmark 2015 nuclear deal is a concern, putting the accord at risk, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

“We are concerned by President (Hassan) Rouhani’s announcement today to further reduce Iran’s commitment under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” a spokeswoman said, referring to the formal title of the deal.

“We urge Iran to reverse all activities that are inconsistent with its commitments under the JCPOA ... it is increasingly difficult to preserve the JCPOA,” she added.

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