Iran on Wednesday reopened a nuclear enrichment plant that has been inactive since 2009, as Tehran geared up to bolster its enrichment activities should the 2015 nuclear deal collapse.
The United States announced in May that it was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions that would hit international businesses working in the Islamic Republic.
Iran has been holding talks with European Union leaders and other officials seeking ways to keep the deal alive, as well as economic guarantees.
Iran has warned it is ready to resume uranium enrichment to 20% “within days” if the deal falls apart. That is still within civilian-use limits, but the level is far above the 3.67% enrichment permitted under the 2015 agreement.
According to the Reuters news agency, the enrichment facility reopened on Wednesday, part of the Isfahan uranium conversion facility, has laid dormant for nine years due to a shortage of “yellowcake,” or uranium oxide.
A barrel of “yellowcake” has since been delivered to the plant to resume production of UF6, according to the report.
Also Wednesday, the Trump administration began dismantling the sanctions relief that was granted to Iran under the deal.
The Treasury Department announced it had revoked licenses that allowed US-controlled foreign firms to export commercial aircraft parts to Iran as well as permitted Americans to trade in Iranian carpets, pistachios and caviar. It said businesses engaged in any such transactions have to wind down those operations by August 6 or face penalties under US sanctions. Another set of licenses covering other types of commerce, including oil purchases, will be revoked in coming weeks, with firms given until November 4 to end those activities.