Iran has resumed 20 percent uranium enrichment in an underground nuclear facility, the government announced on Monday, in violation of a 2015 nuclear pact with major powers and potentially intricate efforts by US President-elect Joe Biden, to rejoin the deal.
The move is Iran’s most recent breach of the deal, which it breached in 2019 in response to Washington’s withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and the reintroduction of US sanctions lifted under the deal.
« The process of producing 20 percent enriched uranium in the Fordow enrichment complex began a few minutes ago, » government spokesman Ali Rabeie told Iranian state media.
The move was one of many mentioned in a law passed by the Iranian parliament last month in response to the murder of the country’s best nuclear scientist that Tehran blamed Israel for. Such moves by Iran could hamper attempts by the incoming Biden government to rejoin the deal.
The main objective of the agreement was to extend the time it would take Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb from at least two to three months to at least a year. It also lifted international sanctions against Tehran.
On 1. January the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Tehran had informed the watchdog that enrichment at the Fordow site, which is buried in a mountain, should be resumed by up to 20 percent.
Iran had previously violated the 3 of the agreement. The purity to which uranium can be enriched is limited to 67 percent, but only increased to 4. So far 5 percent, far below the 20 percent level and the 90 percent who are weapons capable.
US intelligence agencies and the IAEA believe Iran had a secret, coordinated nuclear weapons program that was shut down in 2003. Iran denies ever having had one.
Iran, enriched uranium, joint comprehensive plan of action, nuclear power, International Atomic Energy Agency
World News – AU – Iran claims 20 percent uranium enrichment
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