0323 GMT February 18, 2020
As regards the planned activities at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility after any collapse of the deal, Behrouz Kamalvandi said the facility would begin manufacturing new advanced centrifuge machines with maximum capacity.
Located in Iran’s central province of Qom, Fordo is buried deep underground to protect it against any military attacks.
In late 2011, the plant at Fordo began producing uranium enriched to 20 percent fissile purity. But after achievement of a deal with the P5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), Iran has been producing lower-level uranium with an enrichment level of up to five percent in Fordo and Natanz.
Last week, AEOI Chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran had already developed the necessary infrastructure at the Natanz nuclear facility for enrichment of uranium up to a level of one million SWU (Separative Work Unit).
It came after the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei ordered the AEOI to make preparations for the enrichment of uranium up to a level of 190,000 SWU without any delay in the framework provided by the JCPOA.
The fate of the 2015 nuclear deal is unclear after the United States withdrew from it. The other signatory nations – Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France – are trying to salvage the accord, which imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in return for a lifting of some economic sanctions.
In an interview with the Young Journalists Club (YJC), Kamalvandi said that new work would begin on the nuclear program on the orders of the Leader.
“Currently the Leader has ordered that the programs be carried out within the parameters of the nuclear deal,” Kamalvandi said.
“And when he gives the order we will announce the programs for operating outside of the nuclear deal for reviving Fordo,” he added.
Kamalvandi accused the United States and other Western countries of applying double standards by opposing Iran’s nuclear program, which is purely peaceful, while accepting the nuclear weapons program of Israel.
“The West doesn’t criticize the Zionist regime and has even helped them,” the YJC quoted Kamalvandi as saying. “Without the help of the West and America this regime could never have obtained nuclear weapons.”
Israel is widely believed to be in possession of nuclear warheads, which Israel has never confirmed or denied.