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Russia to Help Iran Improve its Centrifuge Technology

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, confirmed on Wednesday that Russia had “announced their preparedness to cooperate and improve Iran’s centrifuges to produce stable isotopes.”

Under the terms of the nuclear deal, Iran will be allowed to maintain more than 1,000 centrifuges in the fortified underground facility at Fordow to produce various non-nuclear isotopes. However, as the Associated Press reported previously, isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment. Furthermore, Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director-general of the IAEA, and Simon Henderson, the Director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, have asserted that the centrifuges in Fordow “could potentially be reconverted to enriching uranium in a short time regardless of technical or monitoring arrangements.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani bragged on Wednesday that the nuclear deal will not only safeguard Iran’s nuclear achievements, but also pave the way for further advances in nuclear technology. The deal allows Iran to maintain much of its nuclear infrastructure and obligates the P5+1 negotiating powers, of which Russia is a member, to cooperate with Iran on civil nuclear projects. Annex III (.pdf) of the deal explicitly states that the P5+1 and Iran “will seek cooperation and scientific exchange in the field of nuclear science and technology.” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), when he announced his intention to oppose the deal, stated, “The deal enshrines for Iran, and in fact commits the international community to assisting Iran in developing an industrial-scale nuclear power program, complete with industrial scale enrichment.” Emanuele Ottolenghi, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has warned that by the time nuclear restrictions expire, “Iran will have reduced its knowledge gap with Western nuclear scientists to such an extent that if its leaders decide to dash to a weapon, their success will owe in no small part to Western assistance.”

[Photo: euronews (in English) / YouTube ]