Iran begins enriching uranium to 60% purity at Fordow plant
Iran has started enriching uranium to 60% purity at its underground Fordow nuclear site, the government’s nuclear chief said on Tuesday, a move that could anger Western powers pushing Tehran to cancel its nuclear work by restarting a 2015 pact. Iran is already enriching uranium up to 60% purity elsewhere, well below the roughly 90% needed for weapons-grade materials but above the 20% it produced before the agreement with the major powers to cap enrichment at 3.67%.
“We said that Iran would react seriously to any resolution and political pressure…that’s why Iran started enriching uranium to 60% purity from Monday at the Fordow site,” said Mohammad Eslami, according to Iranian media. The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made up of 35 countries, adopted a resolution on Thursday ordering Iran to cooperate urgently with the IAEA’s investigation into the traces of uranium discovered at three undeclared sites. Iran had said the move could impact its “constructive relationship” with the agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.
The semi-official ISNA news agency reported that Iran informed the agency in a letter of the decision to use “advanced IR-6 centrifuges to produce 60% enriched uranium” at Fordow, a site buried in a mountain. The 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and six world powers allows Iran to use only first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, but as the deal fell apart after the then president , Donald Trump, abandoned it in 2018, Tehran installed more efficient advanced centrifuge cascades, such as the IR-2m, IR-4 and IR-6. He also took over enrichment at Fordow, which was prohibited under the agreement.
US officials said they were aware of reports that Iran was getting 60% rich in Fordow, but declined to confirm it, reiterating their preference for using diplomacy to curb Iran’s nuclear program , but claiming that all options – code for possible military action – were available to US President Joe. Biden. In June, Reuters reported that Tehran was further increasing its uranium enrichment by preparing to use IR-6 centrifuges, which can easily switch between enrichment levels, at the Fordow site.
The semi-official Fars news agency said Tehran had also begun the process of “replacing first-generation (IR-1) centrifuges with advanced IR-6s” at the Fordow site, while installing new cascades. , or clusters, of advanced centrifuges. at its Natanz underground nuclear sites. “Iran has also started the process of injecting gas into two cascades of advanced IR-2m and IR-4 centrifuges at the Natanz site,” state television reported.
The IAEA resolution is the second this year targeting Iran over the probe, which has become an obstacle to talks on reviving the 2015 deal because Iran demands an end to the probe. . Indirect talks between Tehran and the United States to revive the deal have been deadlocked since September, with both sides demanding more flexibility.
Iran’s crackdown on anti-government protests over the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, in custody and the sale of drones to Russia have diverted Washington’s attention from reviving a nuclear deal. Iran denies selling drones to Russia for use in war against Ukraine.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)