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Satellite photos show construction at Iran’s Fordo nuclear facility

The Iranian nuclear deal, which US President-elect Joe Biden will seek to rejoin, called for a ban on nuclear activity at Fordo.
Iran's Atomic Energy Organization head Ali Akbar Salehi delivers a speech at an official ceremony to kick-start works for a second nuclear reactor at Bushehr power plant, on November 10, 2019. - Bushehr is Iran's only nuclear power station and is currently running on imported fuel from Russia that is closely monitored by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

Iran is carrying out construction work at its Fordo nuclear facility, satellite imagery obtained by the Associated Press shows, a development that comes as the country’s leaders increasingly signal they are willing meet their commitments under the nuclear deal if the incoming US administration does too.

The new construction comes in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration, which unilaterally withdrew from the landmark nuclear agreement in 2018 and reimposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran as part of a pressure campaign aimed at securing a tougher nuclear deal. Since the United States abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which required curbs on Iranian nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, Iran has openly breached the deal to enrich uranium beyond the allowed quantity limits and purity levels. The JCPOA called for a ban on nuclear activity at the Fordo site, but last year, Iran acknowledged it had resumed uranium enrichment at the facility in violation of the deal.

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