April 08, 2020
The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities were continuing despite the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“A new generation of centrifuges would soon come online at the Natanz fuel enrichment plant”, Salehi said.
Speaking to the monopolized state-run national television, Salehi once again maintained that Tehran’s nuclear activities were solely for peaceful purposes.
Earlier on April 5, speaking to Fars news agency Salehi had disclosed, “Nuclear activities, as well as research and development on the nuclear fuel cycle, uranium conversion, and enrichment (including production and storage), are being carried out without any restrictions.”
Furthermore, he revealed that Iran’s enriched uranium production and stockpile are now as high as pre -JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Tehran’s 2015 nuclear agreemnt) period. Heavy water storage is being carried out without any restrictions. The process of building Arak’s heavy water research reactor (new design) is advancing in cooperation with foreign parties.
On March 30, the U.S. State Department announced that Washington had allowed companies from Russia, China, and Europe to continue designated work without being subject to American sanctions.
In the meantime, Salehi declared that assisted by Russians, work on constructing two new nuclear reactors in Bushehr, southern Iran, was underway.
Salehi’s latest comments echoed President Hassan Rouhani’s recent remarks, claiming that Iran’s nuclear program was more advanced than what it was in 2015.
Five nuclear powers and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Britain, China, France, Russia, the U.S.A., along with Germany agreed with Tehran in 2015 to end international sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for limiting Tehran’s nuclear activities.
However, unhappy with Tehran’s missile program and its “destabilizing” role in the region, Washington dropped the JCPOA in 2018 and imposed batches of economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Since then, the three European parties to the deal have struggled to keep the JCPOA alive by promising Iran a mechanism to help it skip some of the U.S. sanctions.
In the meantime, the Islamic Republic has repeatedly maintained that Washington’s sanctions have deprived it of having access to enough resources needed to fight the novel coronavirus and its related disease, COVID-19.
Nonetheless, on several occasions, Tehran has also rejected Washington’s offer to assist Iran in its struggle against the deadly virus.