Iran is accelerating the enrichment of uranium to close weapon high quality, says IAEA

VIENNA, August 17 (Reuters) – Iran has accelerated its uranium enrichment process to near weapon quality, the UN nuclear watchdog said in a Reuters report on Tuesday, a move that is adding to tensions with the West as both sides try to break the talks on reviving the nuclear deal with Tehran.

Iran has increased the purity to which it refines uranium from 20% in April to 60%.

Iran blames Israel for the attack. Gun quality has a purity of about 90%. Continue reading

In May, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran is using a cascade or cluster of advanced centrifuges to enrich up to 60% at its above-ground pilot enrichment facility at Natanz. The IAEA informed the member states on Tuesday that Iran was now using a second cascade for this as well.

This move is the latest of many in which Iran is breaking the restrictions imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal that limits the purity to which Tehran can refine uranium to 3.67%. The United States and its European allies have warned that such moves threaten the deal revival talks that are currently on hold.

According to the Reuters report, Iran reiterated that its nuclear program is peaceful and said it had informed the IAEA of its enrichment activities. It added that its move away from the 2015 deal would be reversed if the United States reverted to the deal and lifted the sanctions, Iranian state media reported.

“If the other parties return to their nuclear deal obligations and Washington fully and demonstrably lifts its unilateral and illegal sanctions … all of Iran’s mitigation and countermeasures will be reversible,” State Department spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh was quoted as saying by state media.

The IAEA said Monday that despite objections from Western powers that there is no credible civilian use for such work, Iran has made progress in its work on enriched uranium metal.

Uranium metal can be used to make the core of an atomic bomb, but Iran says its goals are peaceful and it is developing reactor fuel. Continue reading

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Additional coverage by the Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Peter Cooney

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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