Iran has marked its 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolutionary takeover of the US embassy in Tehran and subsequent over year-long hostage crisis by announcing another major breach of the nuclear deal on Monday, as previously promised amid the continued Washington sanctions regimen, essentially now doubling its enrichment capacity.
Reuters reports "Iran is launching a new array of 30 advanced IR-6 centrifuges on Monday, the country’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told state television," which brings the total number to 60 IR-6 advanced centrifuges, in violation of its commitments under the 2015 JCPOA.
“Today, we are witnessing the launch of the array of 30 IR-6 centrifuges,” Saleh said, adding that it underscores the Islamic Republic's “capacity and determination”.
An IR-6 centrifuge is capable of enriching uranium ten times faster than limits set under the JCPOA, and crucially according to USA Today:
The move cuts into the one-year time limit that most experts estimate Tehran would need to have enough material to build a nuclear weapon, although there is little evidence to indicate that Iran is trying to weaponize its nuclear materials.
Though the US and its allies like Israel have long assumed Tehran is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons as soon as possible, a month ago Ayatollah Khamenei reaffirmed the supreme leader's official condemnation of nukes, after prior top clerics of the regime previously declared them 'un-Islamic'.
"Nuclear science is beneficial but since it’s not been coupled with love for humanity, it led to nuclear disasters. Despite having the ability to develop nukes, we firmly and bravely avoided it, for building and keeping nukes, like using them, is haram," Ayatollah Khamenei said before a group of the nation's top scientists in early October.
Over the past many weeks the West has been focused on rapid developments in northern Syria, with the Iran nuclear issue seeming to take a back-burner, and largely absent from the headlines; however, many analysts have pointed out that Trump's latest "secure the oil" in Syria policy is actually precisely toward blocking 'Iranian expansion' in the region.