Iran Accelerates Uranium Enrichment
Several new generation centrifuges on display for Iran's National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran, April 10, 2021. (Iranian Presidency Office/West Asia News Agency/Handout)

Iran Accelerates Uranium Enrichment

Iran has stepped up its uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow plant, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The UN atomic watchdog reported that the use of advanced centrifuges has made it easier and quicker for Iran to enrich to higher purity levels. 

Western diplomats are worried about a fast switch in enrichment level. While Iran is required to inform the IAEA about such a switch, if it decided not to, it would escape detection for some time as there is a lag between Iran’s enrichment and IAEA inspectors’ verification of what is produced. 

Iran is currently enriching up to 60% purity, which is considered a short technical from the 90% purity required for weapons-grade uranium. Before the 2015 agreement, it was enriching to 20%; under the terms of the deal, permitted enrichment was capped at 3.67%. 

This move breaches the 2015 deal imposed on Iran’s nuclear activities as talks to revive the deal are stalled. 

The US pulled out of the deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, while reimposing sanctions against Tehran that the agreement had lifted.

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