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Iran Increases Uranium Enrichment to 60 Percent, UN Watchdog Confirms

Iran has established a process to accelerate production of highly enriched uranium, the UN nuclear watchdog said Tuesday, with talks to save the 2015 nuclear deal at a standstill.

International Atomic Energy Agency director Rafael Grossi informed IAEA member states that Tehran was boosting such capacity at its Natanz enrichment plant.

The agency verified on Saturday that “Iran had configured a new operational mode for the production of UF6 enriched up to 60 percent U-235,” Grossi said in a statement. The move takes Iran closer to the 90 percent purity level needed for use in a nuclear weapon.

The Islamic Republic has gradually rolled back its nuclear commitments since 2018 when former US President Donald Trump withdrew from a multilateral nuclear deal and began imposing sanctions. The 2015 deal known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Under the accord, Iran had committed to keeping enrichment to 3.67 percent, though it had stepped this up to 20 percent in January. Trump’s successor Joe Biden said he hopes to revive the nuclear deal and indirect talks in Vienna, through European intermediaries, started in the Austrian capital in April. Unfortunately, the talks broke up on June 20 without any discernible progress.

The EU said earlier this month that Iran is ready to resume talks under new president Ebrahim Raisi, and meetings could take place in Vienna from early September. Meanwhile, the United States on Monday, August 16, urged Iran to return to the negotiations, voicing alarm over Iranian production of uranium metal reported by the UN nuclear watchdog. (TOI / VFI News)

“God, we ask that You keep Your children safe from nuclear weapons and war.”

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