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Iran To Unveil 122 Nuclear Achievements After Coronavirus Passes

By Orkhan Jalilov April 11, 2020

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Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi with President Hassan Rouhani inspecting a nuclear facility on April 9, 2019. / IRNA news agency

Iran has postponed the unveiling of 122 new achievements of the country’s nuclear scientists on the occasion of the National Nuclear Technology Day planned for April 8, due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The new achievements include a series of products with medical, industrial and energy application, including a number of radiopharmaceuticals for curing cancer, nuclear propulsion systems for ships and submarines, as well as high and medium-power lasers with industrial use," Behrouz Kamalvandi, Spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), told the Iranian state news channel IRINN on Wednesday.

Kamalvandi noted that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered to delay of the unveiling ceremony as the Middle Eastern nation struggles to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Iran has synthesized 42 new deuterated compounds that are used in the pharmaceutical industry and in research, Kamalvandi revealed, bringing the total number of deuterated materials to 150. The accomplishment, he said, positions Iran as one of the world’s top four or five nations in the field, adding that the country had already begun exporting such materials.

In addition, he explained that Iran has no restrictions in the area of nuclear research and development and said it has the freedom to manufacture various types of centrifuge machines in any quantity.

“We are manufacturing 60 advanced centrifuges every day. With the current trend in (uranium) enrichment, achieving 250,000 SWUs will be definitely at hand, but we are planning to reach one million SWUs,” Kamalvandi went on to say.

Meanwhile, the head of AEOI, Ali Akbar Salehi, said on April 8 that the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities were continuing despite the spread of the novel coronavirus throughout the country, Radio Farda reported.

"A new generation of centrifuges would soon come online at the Natanz fuel enrichment plant", Salehi said, adding that Tehran's nuclear activities were solely for peaceful purposes.

Earlier on April 5, Iran's Etemaad newspaper quoted Salehi as saying: "Iran's enriched uranium production and stockpile are now as high as pre-JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) period. Heavy water storage is being carried out without any restrictions. The process of building Arak's heavy water research reactor is advancing in cooperation with foreign parties."

Salehi also noted that with the assistance of Russian experts, work on constructing two new nuclear reactors in the Iranian port city of Bushehr was now underway.

On March 30, the Trump administration renewed several waivers on US sanctions against Iran, allowing Russian, European and Chinese companies to continue work on Iran's civilian nuclear facilities without facing penalties.

Meanwhile, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security announced in a recent report that "based on documents in the Iran Nuclear Archive, seized by Israel in early 2018, Iran’s Amad Plan created the Shahid Mahallati Uranium Metals Workshop near Tehran to research and develop uranium metallurgy related to building nuclear weapons."

"The facility was intended as a pilot plant, aimed at developing and making uranium components for nuclear weapons, in particular components from weapon-grade uranium, the key nuclear explosive material in Iranian nuclear weapon cores," the institute disclosed on April 8.

The Amad Plan refers to Iran’s alleged roadmap to developing a nuclear weapon. The site was meant to be temporary until the production-scale Shahid Boroujerdi facility at Parchin was completed, the report added.