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Iran Successfully Implements Advanced Uranium Enrichment Program, IAEA Report Says

Iran has successfully implemented advanced uranium enrichment program, with the first of its cascades of advanced IR-6 centrifuges operating at its Natanz underground fuel enrichment plant, Reuters first reported, citing a report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. The report comes as the world powers, including the United States, wait for Iran’s response on a proposal to reup the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The IR-6 centrifuges, the most advanced model, has been used by Iran to enrich uranium to up to 60% purity, close to the 90% necessary for weapons-grade uranium, at an above-ground plant at Natanz. The original nuclear deal allowed the Islamic Republic to use only the first-generation IR-1 for enriching uranium. Iran signed the original nuclear deal, under which it curbed its nuclear program in return for the removal of sanctions, with the P5+1 group of world powers – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US) plus Germany – in July 2015. Many of the agreement’s provisions, including the limits set on Iran’s enrichment of uranium, were to expire after 15 years. Former US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the agreement in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, prompting Iran to violate its own commitments under the pact. Talks on reviving the agreement began in April 2021, and have taken place with the United States participating indirectly.