© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna
(Restores the abandoned word ‘coal’ in the first paragraph)
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran produced 55 kg of enriched uranium of up to 20% – the level at which it was highly enriched – showing that production faster than 10 kg a month required by Iranian law created the process. in January, the Iranian authorities said Wednesday.
Disclosure comes a day after Tehran and Washington held “constructive” indirect talks in Vienna on Tuesday to seek to restore the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. .
Iran’s tough-line parliament last year passed a law that forced the government to harden its nuclear stance, in part in response to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018.
Trump’s withdrawal has prompted Iran to steadily exceed the treaty limits on its nuclear program designed to make developing an atomic bomb more difficult – an ambition that Tehran denies.
The law requires Iran to begin enriching 20% and provides that at least 120 kg (265 pounds) of uranium so refined is produced each year, or 10 kg a month.
Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi points out that Iran’s production is already “up to 40%” faster.
“In less than four months, we have produced 55 kg of 20% enriched uranium … in about eight months we can reach 120 kg,” Kamalvandi told state television.
considered enrichment 20% higher. Enriching 20% is a big step towards getting rich to weapon level.
A quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear activities by the United Nations nuclear watchdog in February said that as of February 16, Iran had produced 17.6 kg of enriched uranium. 20%, with the next level being enriched 2% -5%.
At the time, a senior diplomat said Iran was producing 20% enriched uranium at a rate of 15 kg per month.
As part of its recent push for breach of the nuclear deal, in January Iran began enriching uranium by 20% at Fordow, an underground uranium enrichment site secretly built inside. A mountain can withstand any aerial bombardment.
Under the agreement, Tehran was not allowed to enrich uranium at Fordow at all.
Until January, Iran had not been enriched beyond 4.5% purity – above the 3.67% limit of the deal but still far below the 20% that Iran had reached prior to the deal, or 90% at weapon level.
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