On 2 July, the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) said there was an incident during construction work at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in the central province of Isfahan, which damaged one of the awnings under construction.
Iran will construct a bigger building with more advanced equipment to replace the damaged building at the Natanz uranium enrichment site, Behrooz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said in a statement.
According to the spokesman, cited by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the incident at Natanz could slow down Tehran’s development and the production of advanced centrifuges in the mid-term. He also added that the incident had caused significant damage to the facility.
The statement comes after the Natanz uranium enrichment plant experienced an incident during construction work. However, the cause of the incident remains unknown. Prior to the incident, the AEOI confirmed media reports that it had stopped an IAEA inspector from examining the Natanz plant. According to the AEOI, the security monitoring equipment at the facility’s entrance had shown the presence of suspicious materials among the inspector’s belongings.
Tehran announced the gradual reduction of its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) obligations on 8 May 2019, which marked the first anniversary of the US’ unilateral pullout from the 2015 pact. The Iranian authorities then said that the country would start abandoning some parts of its nuclear commitments every 60 days unless the European signatories ensured Iran’s interests amid Washington’s reinstated sanctions.
Under the JCPOA, Iran is obliged to repurpose its Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant as a centre for the production of stable isotopes, refraining from enriching uranium and leaving Natanz as the only uranium enrichment facility.