Iran’s resumption of atomic activity at the Fordow underground facility is the latest step in reducing its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal following the withdrawal of the United States in 2018. Iran says it has started injecting uranium hexafluoride gas into 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges at its Fordow plant, in Tehran’s latest step away from its atomic accord with world powers since President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal over a year ago.
President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement means that the Fordow nuclear facility, publicly revealed only 10 years ago, will again become an active atomic site rather than a research facility as envisioned by the landmark 2015 accord. The announcement represents a significant development as Fordow’s 1,044 centrifuges previously spun without uranium gas for enrichment under the deal.
It also increases pressure on European nations that remain in the accord to offer Iran a way to sell its crude oil abroad. Rouhani threatened to pull Iran further out of the deal in early January 2020, which could mean curtailing international surveillance of its program or pushing
enrichment close to weapons-grade levels.