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Iran to celebrate the anniversary of National Nuclear Industry Day

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Iran to celebrate the anniversary of National Nuclear Industry Day

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Photo: EPA

During today’s National Nuclear Technology Day, Iran is set to announce a number of advancements in its nuclear program.

On Tuesday, Iran announced that it had started testing its IR-9 centrifuge, which is capable of producing over 50,000 Separative Working Units (SWUs) of enriched uranium. The IR-9 is estimated to have roughly double the amount of processing power than the previous IR-8 centrifuge.

Iran, which has long developed a nuclear program in defiance of international sanctions, is currently in talks with the US to renew the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. The JCPOA aims to stall Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons-grade materials, particularly by setting verifiable limits on Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium, in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

On the same day that JCPOA re-negotiations began, an Iranian vessel was hit by an Israeli mine, placing heightened tensions on the negotiations. The announcement of the IR-9 centrifuge, which has dual military and civilian use, and the expected announcements today will further enflame the already tense negotiations. Iran’s rapid nuclear technology development has given it more bite in the negotiations—if Washington seeks tighter restrictions within JCPOA, the US may have to ease sanctions against Iran to move talks forward.

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