MON 21 Jun, 2021
International

Iran has restarted uranium enrichment toward 20%

Iran has restarted uranium enrichment toward a 20% target at its Fordow nuclear facility, a government spokesman said on Monday, according to the semi-official news agency Mehr and state news agency IRNA.

The resumption of the enrichment process would breach the nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and the international community, implemented in 2016, that froze Iran's nuclear program in return for a progressive lifting of international sanctions.

 

Iran currently enriches its uranium stockpile up to around 4.5%, which is above the 3.67% cap imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal, but far short of the 90% that is considered weapons-grade. Iran has continually denied its intent to assemble nuclear weapons.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Monday that Iran started the enrichment process a "couple of hours ago" in the Fordow site, noting that the first UF6 enriched uranium will be produced in a few hours, IRNA said.

IRNA added, citing Rabiei, that all the necessary measures, such as informing the IAEA, have been taken.

Last month, Iran's parliament overwhelmingly endorsed a draft bill aiming to counteract sanctions imposed on its nuclear program and boost uranium enrichment, state-run Press TV said.

"The law obliges the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to produce at least 120 kg of 20% enriched uranium annually and store it inside the country," the Mehr news agency reported.

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