UN Nuclear Energy Watchdog Confirms Iran Claims of Nuclear Enrichment
April 17, 2021, 9:11:44 PM
The UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday that Iran has begun the process of enriching uranium to 60% fissile purity at an above-ground nuclear facility in Natanz, confirming earlier statements by Iranian officials.
The move was a major step towards producing uranium, and complicated negotiations with the major powers to stimulate Iran's nuclear deal.
Iran had previously only achieved 20% purity, and that was already a violation of the agreement, which says Iran can only enrich up to 3.67%.
Iran broke the 60% mark in response to an explosion that damaged equipment at Natanz's largest underground fuel enrichment plant.
Tehran blamed Israel and named a wanted man in connection with the explosion.
"The Agency today verified that Iran had begun the production of UF6 enriched up to 60%... at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.
"According to Iran's declaration to the Agency, the enrichment level of the UF6 produced at PFEP was 55.3% U-235.
The Agency took a sample of the produced UF6 for destructive analysis to independently verify the enrichment level declared by Iran.
The results of this analysis will be reported by the Agency in due course," the report said.