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Persian President Prods: Proceeding Promptly to Pact Preferred, Processing Push Possible

The outgoing president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, said Wednesday in a meeting of his cabinet that Tehran could choose to enrich uranium to weapons-grade 90% purity, but that it still wanted to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. “Even if one day there is a need for 90% enrichment for a reactor, we do not have any problem and we are able,” Rouhani said, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. Rouhani also criticized the hard-line religious establishment in Iran for not letting his government reach a deal earlier. The new president-elect, Ebrahim Raisi, is a hard-liner who, when he takes office next month, could make the negotiation of a renewed deal more difficult. According to the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran could only enrich up to a limit of 3.67% purity, which is required to fuel a civilian nuclear power reactor. After the US, under the Trump administration, withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, Iran cranked up its centrifuges, enriching small amounts of uranium to 60%, a short technical step from the 90% level required to build a bomb.