Iran resumes uranium enrichment at Fordow nuclear site

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(Reuters) – Iran resumed uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow nuclear facility, the country’s Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI) said on Thursday, further stepping away from its 2015 nuclear deal with major world powers.

The agreement bans enrichment and nuclear material from Fordow. But with feedstock gas entering its centrifuges, the facility, built inside a mountain, will move from the permitted status of research plant to being an active nuclear site.

“After all successful preparations … injection of uranium gas to centrifuges started on Thursday at Fordow … all the process has been supervised by the inspectors of the U.N. nuclear watchdog,” the AEOI said in a statement reported by Iranian media.

Under the pact, Iran agreed to turn Fordow into a “nuclear, physics and technology center” where 1,044 centrifuges are used for purposes other than enrichment, such as producing stable isotopes, which have a variety of civil uses.

Iran has gradually scaled back its commitments to the deal, under which it curbed its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of most international sanctions, after the United States reneged on the agreement last year.

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