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World

Iran begins raising uranium enrichment to 20%, just shy of weapons-grade

  • On Monday, Iran announced that it had initiated the process of enriching uranium up to 20%, just short of weapons grade production.
  • Prerequisite measures to the enrichment process, including informing the International Atomic Energy Agency have been taken.
Updated 04 Jan 2021

On Monday, Iran announced that it had initiated the process of enriching uranium up to 20%, just short of weapons grade production.

In an interview with the Mehr News Agency, government spokesperson Ali Rabiei stated that Iran’s plan to enrich uranium to up to 20% purity started “hours ago”, following President Hassan Rouhani’s recent order on the implementation of the plan.

Furthermore, Rabiei noted that the prerequisite measures to the enrichment process, including informing the International Atomic Energy Agency have been taken.

On Saturday, Iran announced that it intend to enrich its uranium to 20 percent, amid heightening tensions with the United States in the final days of the Trump Administration.

As reported by Iranian state television, Ali Akbar Salehi, the Head of the Civilian Atomic Energy Organization, sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), informing it of Tehran’s decision to enrich its uranium just short of weapons-grade levels - at the country's Fordow facility.

The IAEA has also confirmed to The Hill that it would maintain close examination of any developments at the nuclear facility.

In a statement from the agency, it stated that "Iran has informed the agency that in order to comply with a legal act recently passed by the country’s parliament, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran intends to produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) up to 20 percent at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant".

Furthermore, the agency stated that they have "inspectors present in Iran on a 24/7 basis and they have regular access to Fordow" adding that "In line with standard safeguards practice, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi will promptly report any relevant developments to IAEA Member States".

The Iranian regime's decision to further enrich its uranium comes amid escalating friction with Washington and concerns that Tehran is considering military action in the Middle East in the foreseeable future.