Iran has started the process of injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordow facility, according to an official.
This is the latest move away from its unravelling nuclear deal with world powers since the United States pulled out of the landmark agreement in 2018.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, told state television the agency has delivered 2000 kilograms of Uranium or UF6 to the Fordow plant, under the supervision of United Nations inspectors, on Wednesday.
“The restarting of the centrifuges will take a few hours and from midnight, the process of injecting uranium gas into them will begin,” he said.
A spokesman for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said its inspectors at the site “will report back on relevant activities”.
The accord, which was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, bans nuclear activity at Fordow, a plant located near the city of Qom, and capped the level of purity to which Tehran can enrich uranium at 3.67 percent.
The 3.67 percent of uranium is suitable for civilian power generation and far below the 90 percent threshold of nuclear weapons grade.
Before the deal, Iran used Fordow to enrich uranium to 20 percent fissile purity. And Salehi said Tehran could also enrich uranium to 20 percent if needed, “but right now there is no need for that”.
With the injection of uranium gas into its centrifuges, Fordow will move from its permitted status of research plant to become an active nuclear site.
France and Britain, however, condemned the move on Tuesday, while Russia said it was concerned.