Starting from December 18, the United States would re-introduce its sanctions against Iran’s Fordow uranium enrichment facility, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has told reporters.
"[Iranian] President [Hassan] Rouhani recently announced that Iran will begin uranium enrichment activities at the Fordow facility. Therefore, the United States will terminate the sanctions waiver related to the nuclear facility at Fordow, effective December 15th, 2019," he said on Monday.
"The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero," the US top diplomat continued. "Iran originally constructed Fordow as a fortified, underground bunker to conduct secret uranium enrichment work, and there is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site. Iran should reverse its activity there immediately."
In his words, "the only viable way forward is through comprehensive negotiations that address the full range of Iran’s threats in their entirety."
"Iran’s most recent action is yet another clear attempt at nuclear extortion that will only deepen its political and economic isolation from the world," TASS quoted Pompeo as saying.
On November 5, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Tehran would take the next step to reduce its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by activating centrifuges at the Fordow uranium enrichment plant. In accordance with the 2015 JCPOA, Iran had to modernize the Fordow plant under international observers’ supervision. The planned modernization was supposed to make this facility impossible to be used for military purposes. On the following day, the ISNA agency reported that Iran began to pump gas to the centrifuges at Fordow, which signified the fourth stage of Tehran’s reduction of obligations under the JCPOA.
Later, members of the Iranian government said the country could increase the facility’s uranium enrichment capacity to 20%. They also said that it was no longer planned to turn the facility into an international research center.
The 2015 Iranian nuclear deal envisages conversion of Fordow from a uranium enrichment facility into a research center. Later, as part of the deal, Russia and Iran started to cooperate in the project to turn Fordow into a center producing stable isotopes for scientific purposes.