Iranian officials announced on Wednesday that they have reopened their uranium processing plant in Isfahan, central Iran. The facility, which has sat dormant since 2009, is a key piece of their atomic program.
The facility processes the raw uranium powder, more commonly known as yellowcake, into the refined uranium hexafluoride gas. The hexafluoride gas is then processed through a centrifuge into enriched uranium. Enriched uranium is used in both civil atomic power plants and nuclear weapons.
According to a report from the Associated Press, the Iranians state that they will continue to honor the agreements of the 2015 nuclear deal, which stipulates that Iran may enrich the small amount needed for civilian applications.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says that they have finally purchased enough yellowcake from Russia and Khazikstan to supplement the small amounts mined domestically to reopen the facility.
This is just the latest move by the Iranians to reignite their nuclear program. Earlier this month, Iran opened a new centrifuge factory in the same region.
Some believe this move is an attempt to push back against the Trump administration, which has placed crippling sanctions on Iranian oil. In May of this year, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated that “a courageous move” was needed to counter the United States.