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Iran to Restart Centrifuges in Latest Move Away from Nuclear Deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, September 4, 2019. (Handout via Reuters)

In a new breach of the nuclear deal abandoned by the U.S. a year ago, Iran announced Tuesday that the country will resume operation of more than 1,000 previously empty centrifuges.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani announced on state television that Tehran will inject uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges at Iran’s nuclear facility in Fordow. He did not expand on whether Iran would begin enriching uranium, a step further towards building a nuclear weapon.

“Resistance lays the ground for negotiation, and negotiation takes advantage of resistance,” Rouhani said in his announcement.

“We are aware of their sensitiveness toward the Fordo facility and those centrifuges,” the Iranian president said. “At the same time, we cannot tolerate unilateral fulfillment of our commitments and no commitment from their side.”

A day earlier, on the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran said it has doubled the number of advanced centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear plant and is planning on installing more.

President Trump pulled out of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran in May of last year.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action provided Tehran billions of dollars in relief from sanctions in exchange for a promise to curb its nuclear program. Since then, tensions have flared between the U.S. and Iran, escalating to a particularly high level in April, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an end to the exemptions from U.S. sanctions on purchases of Iranian oil and gas that eight countries had been granted.

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