Iran increasing uranium enrichment, says UN watchdog

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Iran, Dec 02: Iran is expanding its uranium enrichment capabilities in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, according to experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The UN agency’s latest report came as talks seeking to restore the nuclear agreement were underway in Vienna.

Iran increasing uranium enrichment, says UN watchdog

These indirect negotiations between Iran and the United States could help revive the 2015 deal that had Iran limit its nuclear program in exchange for relief from US, EU and UN sanctions.

What happened to the 2015 nuclear deal?

The deal was abandoned in 2018 by the US president at the time, Donald Trump. Under Trump, the US reimposed harsh sanctions that angered Iran and caused tensions with the other parties to the agreement: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. At the same time, Tehran began gradually to violate the terms of the deal.

Talks geared towards reviving the agreement restarted this week after a five-month break.

IAEA investigators visited the Fordow underground nuclear facility on Tuesday. There, they concluded that steps had been taken to enrich uranium to up to 20% using high-efficiency centrifuges.

On Monday, Axios reported that Israel had shared intelligence with the US and European countries that suggested Iran was moving towards the enrichment of uranium to 90% purity. This is the level needed for the creation of a nuclear weapon.

Iran increasing uranium enrichment, says UN watchdog

What did Iran say about the report?

Iran has confirmed that 20% uranium enrichment has begun at Fordow. Tehran’s permanent mission to the UN claimed that the IAEA report was an “ordinary update.”

Mohammed-Resa Ghalebi, executive director of Iran’s IAEA mission in Vienna, said that the enrichment serves purely peaceful purposes.

Source: DW



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