Iran has allowed up to 20 times the purity of uranium to be enriched, says the UN nuclear watchdog.

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After the assassination of the country’s top nuclear scientist, the new move was enshrined in law last month

Iran has told the United Nations nuclear watchdog that it aims to enrich uranium at its Fordow plant, located within a mountain, to a purity level of up to 20 percent, a level it had achieved before the 2015 agreement. The move is the latest of many Iranian declarations to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it plans to breach the agreement further, which it started violating in 2019 in retaliation for the removal of Washington from the deal and the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Tehran. The move was one of several listed in a bill passed last month by Iran’s parliament in response to the killing of t

Such Iranian moves could complicate U.S. efforts. President-elect Joe Biden to rejoin the relationship. “This is an additional blow,” a diplomat told AFP in Vienna. “The assassination of Iranian scientists will make the job of Joe Biden harder | Mohamad BazziContinue Reading “Iran has told the Agency that the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization intends to manufacture up to 20 percent low-enriched uranium at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant to comply with a recent law passed by the country’s parliament,” the IAEA said in a statement. Similar wording was used in an IAEA report to Member States obtained earlier on Friday by Reuters to characterize a letter from Iran to the IAEA dated Dec. 31. “Fordow was constructed inside a mountain, ostensibly to shield it from aerial bombing, and the 2015 agreement would not allow enrichment there. “Iran’s letter to the agency… did not specify when this enrichment operation will take place,” the IAEA statement said.

Iran is now using first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Fordow for enrichment. Iran has violated the 3.67 percent cap on the purity at which it can enrich uranium, but so far it has achieved just 4.5 percent, well below the 20 percent it reached before the deal and the 90 percent that is arms-grade. The key purpose of the agreement was to increase the time it would take for Iran to manufacture enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, if it wanted to do so, from around two to two.

U.S. intelligence agencies and the IAEA claim that Iran had a covert, orchestrated program for nuclear weapons that it stopped in 2003.

From the outset, Joe Biden will face a complicated range of foreign policy concerns. Continue reading Biden, who takes office Jan. 20, has suggested that Washington will rejoin the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to restrict the nuclear program of Iran. The deal has failed after President Donald Trump withdrawn drastically from it in May 2018 and imposed crippling economic sanctions on Tehran. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of Germany said the change in administration in the U.S. meant that there was “a last window” for advancement that “should not be wasted. “

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