Iran starts injecting UF6 into domestically-made IR-8 centrifuges: AEOI

The file photo shows a cascade of centrifuges in the Natanz enrichment facility.

Iran has started injecting uranium hexafluoride (UF6) into advanced domestically-manufactured centrifuge machines, known as IR-8, to launch an important phase of the country’s research and development plans, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says.

The UF6 injection into the IR-8 machines began on Saturday thanks to great and constant efforts made by the AEOI experts and in line with the Islamic Republic’s plan to proceed with its peaceful nuclear activities, the organization said in a statement.

It added that this significant step is taken in accordance with the guidelines of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on the continuation of research and development plans without any restriction and based on Iran’s commitments stipulated in the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

According to the statement, the IR-8 centrifuge machines are among the most advanced machines which have been completely designed and manufactured by the Iranian scientists.

Iran has successfully conducted all mechanical tests of the machines over the past three years, the AEOI said, adding that the IR-8 machines have the capacity to enrich uranium some 20 times more than the IR-1 ones.

The AEOI once again emphasizes that based on the JCPOA, Iran’s research and development plans will be continued without any halt in all sectors of peaceful nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment, in order to supply fuel for research reactors, the statement read.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China plus Germany - signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the nuclear agreement, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

Iran has, however, denied media reports suggesting that it has agreed to reduce its stockpile of uranium enriched to up to 3.67 percent purity to less than 300 kilograms as part of the JCPOA.

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