Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has announced that the Fordow uranium enrichment plant will restart production using 1,044 centrifuges on Wednesday, Nov. 5, further rolling back the 2015 nuclear accord, A day earlier, the head of Iran’s nuclear program, Ali Akbar Salehi, disclosed that enrichment had been substantially accelerated by the activation of 60 of the equally banned extra-fast centrifuges. Rouhani stressed that all the steps Iran has taken in violation of its obligations under the accord with six signatories were reversible – depending on all of them complying with their commitments within two months.
The suggestion was that President Donald Trump must backtrack on his decision last May to take the US out of the accord, although he left the door open for negotiations with Tehran on revisions. The other signatories are required to compensate Iran for the damage to its economy.
DEBKAfile’s sources judge the activation of advanced centrifuges in the Fordow underground enrichment plant near the holy town of Qom to be the most substantial step Tehran has taken thus far in response to the US exit and the tough sanctions the Trump administration has imposed on Iran’s oil exports. If it goes forward as threatened, Iran’s nuclear program will in short order – maybe in the space of two or three months – be able to ramp up its stock of enriched uranium sufficiently to approach a quantity of nuclear weapons grade fuel.