IAEA headquarters
IAEA headquartersiStock

A new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finds that Iran continues to breach its 2015 deal with world powers and has fired up advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges that it had installed at its Natanz site.

The UN atomic watchdog’s report was obtained by the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

The 2015 deal states that Iran can only accumulate enriched uranium with first-generation IR-1 machines and that those are the only centrifuges it can operate at its underground plant at Natanz, apparently built to withstand aerial bombardment.

“On 14 November 2020, the Agency verified that Iran began feeding UF6 into the recently installed cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) in Natanz,” the IAEA report to member states dated Tuesday said.

The report follows an IAEA report released last week, which found that Iran continues to increase its stockpile of low-enriched uranium far beyond the limits set in the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi last month told the Austrian paper Die Presse that Iran does not at this stage have enough enriched uranium to make one nuclear bomb under the UN atomic watchdog’s official definition.

US President-elect Joe Biden has indicated he would return to the nuclear deal with Iran, and a close aide to him said last week that rejoining the Iran nuclear deal was “high on the agenda” of Biden.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif conditioned his country’s return to compliance with the deal on Biden lifting the sanctions.