Today, the IAEA reported that Iran added 644 centrifuges for a total of 2,784 at Fordow, completing the site where Iran enriches uranium to 20 percent purity – a few technical steps away from weapons-grade of 90 percent.
But the IAEA report said that Iran had not increased the number of working centrifuges at the site – still just below 700, as it was three months ago – nor indicated when Fordow might be fully functional.
While the boost of capacity at Fordow grabs headlines, the IAEA also reported that Iran has converted more than 41 percent of the higher-enriched, 20 percent uranium it has produced into reactor fuel – rendering it virtually unusable for weapons.
The fate of Fordow has been a critical issue during the three rounds of nuclear talks this in which world powers aim to permanently prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon.
Amid threats of military action from Israeli and American politicians – and an ever-increasing array of sanctions that have sharply damaged Iran's economy – negotiators of the so-called P5+1 group (the US, China, Russia, France, and the UK, plus Germany) met Iran in Istanbul, Baghdad, and Moscow with little tangible result.