Iran enriches uranium to 20% with new centrifuges

Iran enriches uranium to 20% with new centrifuges

Iran announced on Sunday that it had begun enriching uranium to 20% with sophisticated centrifuges at its underground nuclear plant in Fordo, according to state television, an escalation amid deadlock with the West over its ailing nuclear deal.

Behruz Kamalvandi spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, said that 20% enriched uranium had been removed for the first time in advanced IR-6 centrifuges on Saturday. Iran had informed the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency two weeks ago, he noted. Centrifuges are used to spin the uranium to higher levels of purity. The 2015 nuclear deal with international powers called for Ford become a research and development facility and restrict the facility’s centrifuges to non-nuclear uses. Iran had informed the IAEA that it was preparing to enrich uranium with a new shipment of 166 advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its underground facility at Ford. But she had not revealed to what level the enrichment would be. The OIE, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, told The Associated Press it had verified on Saturday that Iran was using a system that would allow it to switch between enrichment levels more quickly and easily.

Iran did not comment on the IAEA findings.

The news that Tehran had reached 20% enrichment – within a technical step of the 90% weapons level – was another blow to the already slim chances of reviving the nuclear deal. The talks have been stalled for months. The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, described the latest round of negotiations in Qatar as a “wasted opportunity”.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.