Iran Increases Uranium Enrichment to 60% in Latest ‘Provocation’
Iran on Tuesday announced it would begin to immediately enrich uranium to 60% purity, in what Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said on Wednesday during a televised Cabinet meeting is a response to recent sabotage efforts against Tehran’s central nuclear facility in Natanz, blamed on Israel. The move comes just prior to the second round of talks in Vienna between Iran and world powers, aimed at resuscitating the gutted 2015 nuclear deal. The United States, with which Iran held “constructive” indirect negotiations in the Austrian capital last week, condemned Tuesday’s announcement, calling it a “provocative” step. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reached between Tehran and the P5+1 world powers, put a cap of 3.67% on the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment. Yet after former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the pact in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions, Iran eventually began breaching parts of the agreement. Last year, Tehran began enriching its uranium up to 4.5%, and in January moved up to 20% enrichment. A fissile purity of 90% is required to assemble a nuclear bomb.