June 5, 2018 / 3:16 PM / 14 days ago

Iran tells IAEA it plans to produce feedstock for centrifuges

VIENNA, June 5 (Reuters) - Iran has informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog of “tentative” plans to produce the feedstock for centrifuges, the machines that enrich uranium, the agency said on Tuesday after Iran said it was preparing to increase its enrichment capacity.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Monday he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment capacity if its nuclear deal fell apart after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his country’s withdrawal last month.

European powers are scrambling to salvage the deal, which imposes restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting sanctions.

“The Agency received a letter from Iran on 4 June informing the Agency that there is a tentative schedule to start production of UF6,” a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said, referring to uranium hexafluoride, the feedstock for centrifuges.

The deal allows Iran to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent — far below the 90 percent of weapons grade — and caps its stock of enriched uranium hexafluoride at 300 kg. (Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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