0512 GMT October 23, 2020
The fourth step has been fully implemented, and accordingly, 1,044 centrifuges are enriching uranium at the Fordo nuclear site, Salehi said while addressing Iranian lawmakers in Parliament on Sunday, according to IRNA.
Under the nuclear deal, he said, Iran had promised that these 1,044 centrifuges will not enrich uranium, but according to the country’s decision to reduce its nuclear deal commitments to the 2015 deal, enrichment will be done as needed.
Earlier this year, the Iranian government announced its decision to take the fifth and final step in reducing its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Iranian government said on January 5 that from now on, the country will observe no operational limitations on its nuclear industry, including with regard to the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the amount of enriched materials as well as research and development, Press TV wrote.
"By taking the fifth step in reducing its commitment, the Islamic Republic of Iran eliminates the last key operational restriction it faced under the JCPOA, which is the limitation imposed on the number of centrifuges," it said.
The statement emphasized that following this decision, Iran will continue its nuclear program only on the basis of its "technical needs".
The Iranian government, however, emphasized that it will continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as was the case in the past.
Iran has repeatedly said that it is ready to resume fulfilling its commitments under the landmark nuclear deal if sanctions imposed on the country are removed and it can avail itself of the JCPOA's benefits.
US President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade.
In response to the US unilateral move, Tehran has rowed back on its nuclear commitments five times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.
As a first step, Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA.
In the second step, Tehran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA limit of 3.76 percent.
In the third phase, after the Europeans failed to meet a 60-day deadline to meet Iran’s demands and fulfill their commitments under the deal, Iran started up advanced centrifuges to boost the country's stockpile of enriched uranium and activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes.
In November, Iran began injecting gas into centrifuges at the Fordo plant as part of its fourth step away from the JCPOA under the supervision of the IAEA.