Iran has started to pump gas into hundreds of new generation centrifuges in response to new sanctions imposed by the US, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Tuesday. According to the state-owned Fars news agency, Amir-Abdollahian described the new sanctions as a "show that has no effect", and stressed that they will not force Iran to make concessions in the nuclear negotiations.
"If the United States wants to continue the policy of siege and intimidation against us, we will never be constrained by it," added the minister.
The US Treasury announced on Monday the imposition of sanctions on six Iranian entities, while Washington pledged to continue imposing sanctions against Tehran until it returns to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement. Former US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal unilaterally in 2018 but his successor Joe Biden is keen to rejoin the agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining the capability of producing nuclear weapons. He has made no comment about Israel's weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads for its missiles.
Noor news agency, which is close to Iran's Supreme National Security Council, reported on Tuesday that the first generation IR-1 and advanced IR6 centrifuges were pumped with gas after the International Atomic Energy Agency had been notified. The centrifuges had already been installed at the Natanz nuclear complex in Isfahan province. Noor added that Iran's civil defence assessment is that the devices are "well protected".
Behrouz Kamalvandi of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) said on Monday evening that gas is being pumped into hundreds of advanced centrifuges as part of the implementation of a decision by the Iranian parliament. He told Iranian television that "Uranium hexafluoride gas was pumped into 500 advanced IR6 centrifuges with the aim of reaching a capacity of 190,000 units (Su) in the field of atomic energy."