The facility was believed to be attacked via a Mossad operation last year, which led to significant damage being dealt; The IAEA reported that Tehran is using the IR-4 centrifuge to enrich uranium.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which operates as the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog, the Islamic Republic is now enriching uranium via advanced IR-4 centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear facility. In so doing, Tehran is further breaching the terms set in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal.
Under the terms of the JCPOA, Iran is only permitted to use the 1st generation IR-1 centrifuges.
In its recent statement, first reported by Reuters, the IAEA said, “On 15 March 2021, the Agency verified that Iran began feeding the cascade of 174 IR-4 centrifuges already installed at FEP (fuel enrichment plant) with natural UF6.”
They added, “In summary, as of 15 March 2021, Iran was using 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges installed in 30 cascades, 522 IR-2m centrifuges installed in three cascades and 174 IR-4 centrifuges installed in one cascade, to enrich natural UF6 up to 5% U-235 at FEP.”
Interestingly enough, this particular facility was dealt heavy damage last summer after a fire broke out, which was speculated by many to be an act of sabotage. The suspicion grew due to a series of similar incidents throughout the season, specifically in Iran. However, it’s clear that Tehran has been committed to restoring this facility.
Though the Islamic Republic began increasing its violations of the deal after the Trump administration withdrew in 2018, these breaches have only increased all the more in recent months. Furthermore, Tehran intends to install a second cascade of the IR-4 at the Natanz facility in the future.