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Iran is expanding the production and installation of advanced IR-6 centrifuge networks in the underground Natanz nuclear facility, Iranian media reported on 9 June.
The decision comes just a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors passed an “anti-Iran” resolution introduced by the US, UK, France, and Germany.
The western nations accused Iran of failing to explain uranium traces found at three nuclear facilities, and demanded “more cooperation and transparency from Tehran.”
“Those who push for anti-Iran resolution at the IAEA will be responsible for all the consequences,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned on 5 June, after reports that the resolution was in the works.
According to the Russian ambassador to the International Organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia and China voted against the IAEA resolution, while India, Libya, and Pakistan abstained.
“Countries which represent more than 1/2 of mankind didn’t support the resolution,” he said via Twitter.
The #IAEA BoG adopted resolution on #Iran sponsored by Germany, France, the U.K. and the US. 30 Governors voted in favour, 2 (Russia and China) against and 3 (India, Libya, Pakistan) abstained. Thus countries which represent more than 1/2 of mankind didn’t support the resolution.
— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) June 8, 2022
Meanwhile, during a press conference on 9 June, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi announced that Iran has began shutting down surveillance cameras, adding that the Islamic Republic will disconnect 27 more across different nuclear sites across the country, including at the Natanz facility.
“This would be a fatal blow” to the currently stalled sanctions-removal talks in Vienna, Grossi added.
On 8 June, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced that officials had shut down several CCTV cameras belonging to the IAEA, which were installed as a measure beyond the safeguards agreement reached with the agency.
“Iran has so far had extensive cooperation with the IAEA, but unfortunately, the IAEA, without consideration that this cooperation is due to the goodwill of Iran, not only did not appreciate it but also considered it Iran’s duty,” the AEOI statement reads.
“For this reason,” the statement went to say, “the decision was made to stop the operation of the [Online Enrichment Monitor] enrichment surface line metering camera and the IAEA flow meter from today.”
However, the AEOI highlighted that 80 percent of IAEA surveillance cameras are within Iran’s obligations under the safeguards agreement, and that these cameras will continue to operate.
Iran’s centrifuge expansion coincides with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet’s surprise trip to the UAE, where he is expected to hold talks with Emirati officials on several issues, including Iran.
It also comes amid reports that Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein-Amir Abdollahian has provided the US with “new proposals” regarding the possible revival of sanctions-removal negotiations.