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British defense minister calls on Iran to return to commitments of nuclear agreement

UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace (Wallacerb6/WikiCommons)

Britain’s defence minister urged Iran on Thursday to return to commitments of nuclear agreement and for the United States to support the deal.

UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace comments came after the head of the UN atomic watchdog agency confirmed on Wednesday reports that Iran has begun operating centrifuges installed at an underground site.

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters in Vienna that the 174 centrifuges had been moved into a new area of the Natanz nuclear site and had recently begun operating.

He said that operation of centrifuges of that type was in violation of the nuclear deal Iran had signed with world powers in 2015 — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — but would not lead to a greater overall output of enriched uranium.

Iran is already far past the deal’s limits on enriched uranium, he noted.

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“It is already beyond the limits of the JCPOA but in general terms there is no significant increase in the volumes,” Grossi said.

Last week Donald Trump considered but rejected a military strike on Natanz, Iran’s main uranium-enrichment site. Advisers warned him that military action could spark a broader conflict, US media reported.

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