Iran Increases Uranium Enrichment to 60%: IAEA

17/08/2021

Iran has enriched uranium to 60 percent fissile purity -- which is near weapon-grade levels of 90 percent -- instead of 20 percent in April, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report seen by Reuters.

The IAEA also announced yesterday that Iran had produced 200 grams of uranium enriched to up to 20 percent on Saturday, a move that sets Iran on the path to potentially manufacture nuclear weapons.

The increase in uranium metal production is likely to anger western powers who are in talks with the Islamic republic to revive the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that the move was "unconstructive and inconsistent with a return to mutual compliance," adding that "Iran's nuclear advances have a bearing on our view of returning to the JCPOA."

Last month, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said that his country's move to produce uranium enriched to up to 20 percent will be utilized for peaceful purposes. 

Negotiations to re-enter the JCPOA are seeking to draw steps that Iran and the US should take regarding nuclear activities and sanctions to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal.