Issues

Iran has begun 60% uranium enrichment – Chief nuclear negotiator

04/13/2021

In a potentially unprecedented escalation, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi announced on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic has begun 60% uranium enrichment, according to state media, Reuters reported.

In order for uranium to be weaponized, it must be enriched to 90%.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran had to stay below 5% nuclear enrichment.

However, both before the nuclear deal and since the Islamic Republic started violating the deal in 2019-2020, it has enriched some of its uranium stock to a mid-level 20%.

Even the jump to 20% set off alarms globally as taking a major additional step toward a nuclear weapon – especially since there is no viable civilian use for 20% enriched uranium.

But to date, Iran has not enriched uranium up to 60%, often referred to as the next level for jumping toward a nuclear weapon.

Araqchi also announced that Iran will introduce 1,000 more centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility. 

An attack at Natanz on Sunday, allegedly carried out by Israel, caused extensive damage to Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility, targeting an electrical substation.

Based on the timing, Iran’s 60% enrichment announcement appeared to be trying to send a message to the global powers with whom it is negotiating about its nuclear program, that it can maintain the pressure on them despite the setback at Natanz on Sunday.

Read More: Jerusalem Post