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Iran Stops Dismantling Centrifuges After Hard-Line Criticism

Iran has stopped dismantling centrifuges in at least one of the country’s nuclear facilities.

Alireza Zakani, the head of the Iranian parliament’s nuclear deal commission, said the deactivation of the centrifuges had stopped at the Fordo underground facility because of the lawmakers’ letter to President Hassan Rohani.

Zakani did not mention the state of activities at the Natanz enrichment plant.

The move comes a few days after a group of hard-line lawmakers called on Rohani to stop dismantling centrifuges, which they claimed was being done too rapidly and not according to directives from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The dismantling of the centrifuges is part of the landmark nuclear deal that Iran signed with six world powers in Vienna in July that curbs Iran's controversial nuclear program in exchange for relief from international economic sanctions.

“[The dismantling] was stopped with a warning before it began,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as saying on November 10 by the semiofficial Mehr news agency.

Khamenei has said the international nuclear deal should only be implemented once allegations of past military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program have been resolved.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is conducting a probe of the nuclear program and is expected to announce its conclusions on the military dimensions of the program in December.

Last week, Iranian Atomic Energy Organization head Ali Akbar Salehi said that initial work to lower the number of centrifuges had begun in line with the nuclear agreement.

As part of the agreement, Iran must remove or deactivate two-thirds of its centrifuges.

Based on reporting by Reuters, ISNA, and Mehr