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Iran announces new nuclear deal violations

November 4, 2019

Tehran said it has streamlined its ability to produce enriched uranium on the anniversary of the 1979 US hostage crisis. The head of Iran's nuclear program said it shows the country's "capacity and determination."

Iranian flag and centrifuges
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/AP/Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting

Iranian officials on Monday said the country has doubled the number of advanced centrifuges in operation in clear violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

"Today, we are witnessing the launch of the array of 30 IR-6 centrifuges," said Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.

That brings the number of IR-6 centrifuges up to 60. The centrifuges allow Iran to produce enriched uranium 10 times faster than the first generation models.

Salehi also said Iran had developed a prototype centrifuge that would allow it to develop enriched uranium up to 50 times faster. He said the development of IR-9 shows Iran's "capacity and determination."

The announcement comes as Iran commemorates the 40th anniversary of the 1979 US embassy hostage crisis that lasted 444 days.

Read more: Is Germany moving toward Trump's stance on Iran?

Infographic detailing restrictions on Iran's nuclear program under the deal

Erosion of trust

Last year, the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, once considered a diplomatic masterpiece. The accord provided a framework in which Iran would end its nuclear program in exchange for the international community dropping paralyzing sanctions.

EU member states, including Germany and France, have urged Iran to stick to the deal despite the US withdrawal. But Tehran has eroded the deal by steadily violating parts of the accord.

Speaking in Hungary on Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Iran's decision to develop methods to enrich uranium more quickly jeopardizes the nuclear agreement.

"They announced in early September that they would not comply with the nuclear accord and we think that is unacceptable," Maas said through an interpreter.

Meanwhile, the US, which restored sanctions after withdrawing from the agreement, imposed more sanctions on Monday, the US Treasury Department said. The sanctions are against nine members Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's inner circle, including his chief of staff and one of his sons, and one entity tied to Iran.

Iran's foreign ministry said the new US sanctions are a sign of its bullying approach. 

"These types of sanctions are only a sign of the desperation and inability of this regime in benefiting from a diplomatic and logical approach, which can be seen in the framework of the bullying view of the United States toward other countries and important global and international issues," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said., according to the state-run IRNA news network.

Read more: Iran-US conflict: Tehran's asymmetrical approach

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ls/rt (Reuters, AP)