Salehi says Iran produced 57 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium
TEHRAN – The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) uranium enrichment capacity has reached 16,500 SWU, AEOI chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday.
SWU stands for Separate Work Unit.
Salehi, a nuclear physicist, also said Iran’s reserves of 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel have reached 57 kilograms.
“Today Iran’s enrichment capacity has reached 16,500 SWU and we have 57 kilograms of 20% uranium,” Salehi told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
“The nuclear industry will not stop with the JCPOA”
The AEOI official went on to say he was sure the nuclear industry would not be stopped or slowed down by the JCPOA, the common name for the 2015 nuclear deal.
“Compare for yourself what we had in 1392 in different areas and what we have now.”
For example, he said, Robert Malley, the US special envoy to Iran, recently said: “See how far the Iranian nuclear industry has come with Trump’s actions.”
Salehi, a nuclear physicist, said: “We have 15 new types of centrifuges which enrich uranium, like IR6, IR4, IR2M.”
“In 1392 (2013), we only got richer with IR1, which is a huge leap forward. Before the JCPOA, our maximum enrichment was 13,000 SWU, but now we have 16,500 SWU without mobilizing all our resources. So has this industry slowed down and stopped? ” He asked.
Salehi added: “We have about 5 tonnes of enriched uranium and about 57 kilograms of 20% uranium, while we are supposed to have 120 kilograms in a year, but now we have reached 57 kilograms.”
At the end of last year, the Iranian parliament approved legislation requiring the government to increase the level of enrichment to 20 and produce 120 kg of nuclear fuel at 20% purity in response to the imposition of sanctions. against Iran. The parliament said the approval is aimed at protecting the rights of the Iranian nation.
The senior nuclear official also said Iran’s capacity to produce yellowcake increased from 5 tonnes to 35 tonnes before the JCPOA was signed.
“Our production of yellowcake before the JCPOA was 4 to 5 tonnes, but it is now averaging 35 tonnes.”
He added: “We are building two power plants with the cooperation of the Russians.”
Iran is celebrating Farvardin 20, which falls primarily on April 9, as National Nuclear Technology Day.
“We are on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Farvardin and the honors of the Atomic Energy Organization … We were unable to organize the 20th of Farvardin last year due to the coronavirus, but this year we will hold it on Saturday. “
Salehi said, “At this ceremony, which the president will attend, an exhibition with 133 achievements will take place and we will have around 7 unveilings, the most important of which are new radiopharmaceuticals. We do not realize the importance of the latter. . radiopharmaceuticals until we get sick. “
He added: “About a million people suffer from incurable diseases and the Atomic Energy Organization provides the drugs these patients need and the number of these new drugs is increasing every year.”
The nuclear chief also said it was recently announced that a drug against prostate cancer is being studied and developed in collaboration with several universities.
He said the National Center for Ion Therapy in Alborz Province will open in September.
This center is a hospital that treats incurable illnesses, Salehi explained.
Salehi went on to say that there is another project called “GMP based radiopharmaceutical production project or” TETRA project “which has 60 million euros of equipment” and AEOI has not received any funding from the government. government for the project.
The project was funded by loans from banks, he said, adding that preparations were underway to kick off the project in September.
Responding to a question about the nuclear talks held in Vienna on Tuesday for a possible revitalization of the JCPOA, Salehi said: “Technical experts from the Atomic Energy Organization are in talks.”
He said Iranian officials said the first round of nuclear negotiations in Vienna was constructive.
Salehi was involved in the nuclear talks on technical matters as Iran and the 5 + 1 nations were on the verge of finalizing the text of the JCPOA in July 2015. He was also Iran’s ambassador to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.
“Clear and principled position”
Salehi, who is also seen as vice president, also said Iran’s stance on the revival of the JCPOA is “clear and principled.”
If the United States returns to the JCPOA and lifts the sanctions, Iran will also reverse its corrective measures, Salehi said.
He said Iran was not asking excessive demands of the United States, noting that “America has left (the nuclear deal) and wants to come back and it has obligations that must do them first.
He reiterated the position of other Iranian officials, saying: “We don’t have a step-by-step discussion in this regard and I haven’t heard anything about it at all.”
Iran has insisted that if the sanctions are lifted, it will immediately revoke its nuclear measures which are outside the constraints of the JCPOA.
Salehi said the path for mutual understanding of the JCPOA is clear. “New sanctions were added under Trump. In these negotiations, the sanctions list should be reviewed, and on the other hand, they want to review our actions.”
“We can stop some actions momentarily; for example, we can immediately stop the production of 20% uranium, but it will take time to remove the new centrifuges. “
Salehi, who was also foreign minister under the Ahmadinejad administration, said the United States has suffered many political defeats in the past one or two years because of the JCPOA.
“Without the JCPOA, these American defeats certainly would not have happened. Maintaining the JCPOA has put us in the right position. It is a political achievement that the Americans have given up on the position that Iran must act first. . “
Salehi said: “We have seen good signs so far and Iran has also announced that it will honor its obligations as long as they fulfill their obligations.”
“We have installed 1,000 IR2M centrifuges in the last one or two months,” he said.
“These 16,500 SWUs have been installed mainly in recent months in accordance with the law of parliament. These achievements are part of the Commitment Reduction Steps, and if the JCPOA is to be implemented, we will stop them.