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Iran dismisses IAEA report on Fordow nuclear plant as 'incorrect'

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meets Assad Regime's Ali Mahmoud Abbas in Tehran ( IRANIAN PRESIDENCY - Anadolu Agency )

The head of Iran's nuclear agency, on Wednesday, dismissed a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into the Fordow nuclear plant, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Speaking at an event in Tehran, Mohammad Eslami said findings of the UN nuclear watchdog inspectors following their visit to the underground nuclear facility 20 miles north-east of the city of Qom were "incorrect".

He said it was regrettable that reports about inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities were leaked to the media by the UN watchdog, unlike inspections in other countries.

Eslami referred to remarks by the Iranian nuclear agency spokesman, on Wednesday, saying a senior lawmaker accompanied the IAEA team on their visit to Fordow and they "realised their mistake".

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The UN nuclear watchdog in a report released on Wednesday said Iran has significantly modified an interconnection between two centrifuge clusters enriching uranium up to 60 per cent purity at Fordow nuclear plant, without informing the agency.

IAEA chief, Rafael Grossi, said changes at the facility were "inconsistent" with Iran's obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and undermines the Agency's ability to "implement effective safeguards measures" at the site.

The report came two weeks after an IAEA team inspected the site, in which they detected that "two IR-6 centrifuge cascades … were interconnected in a way that was substantially different from the mode of operation declared by Iran to the Agency," according to the leaked report.

The confidential report said the two centrifuge cascades have been functional since last year, producing enriched uranium up to 60 per cent purity.

Last November, Iran announced its decision to ramp up the production of uranium at the underground nuclear facility in response to a resolution passed by the UN watchdog.

The Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran said it began to produce uranium up to 60 per cent purity at the facility and announced that two new centrifuge cascades, IR-2m and IR-4, were reviewed and operated at the Natanz nuclear facility in the central Isfahan province.

The move came days after the IAEA's 35-member Board of Governors passed the resolution, asking Iran to urgently cooperate with its probe into "uranium traces" found at three undeclared sites.

The probe, which Iran has repeatedly dismissed as forged, has emerged as a key sticking point in 2015 nuclear deal talks with parties to the deal urging Iran to cooperate in the probe.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran was required to enrich uranium only up to 3.67 per cent. After the US walked out of the deal in 2018, Tehran began ramping up its uranium enrichment, which has now reached up to 60 per cent purity.

Talks to revive the agreement in Vienna since April 2021 remain stalled due to key disagreements between Tehran and Washington as well as the IAEA probe.

READ: Iran: Nuclear deal is 'available' but not forever

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