Iran has confirmed a plan to increase uranium enrichment up to 20 percent as it moves to implement a recently introduced law as a counter-measure against US sanctions.
In an interview with the state television, the chief of Iran’s nuclear agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said that Tehran has written to the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA about the enrichment plan. He said the letter has been dispatched to the Vienna-based organization through the Iranian envoy and the country is ready to raise the level to 20 percent in accordance with the recent legislation “very soon”. Salehi noted that a final nod from President Hassan Rouhani is required before the move is implemented. The nuclear chief said the process will be implemented under the supervision of the IAEA inspectors, who he said need to “unseal things that had been sealed”. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Tehran was allowed to enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent. The threshold was, however, breached by Iran in response to the US withdrawal from the deal, raising the level to 4.5. The plan to increase the level from 4.5 to 20 percent, which is considered “highly enriched uranium”, had been in the pipeline for some time but the final trigger was the assassination of prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last month.
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