Iran to boost uranium to 60% in response to the Israeli attack

Iran Uranium Enrichment

Iran’s decision to use 60% of Uranium enrichment will be its most extreme violation of the 2015 nuclear deal

Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it would begin 60% uranium enrichment, said Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. Araghchi arrived in Vienna for the second round of nuclear talks. 

Why it matters: 

Iran’s decision to use 60% of Uranium enrichment will be its most extreme violation of the 2015 nuclear deal since the U.S. withdrew from the agreement in 2018. It will also jeopardize the ongoing efforts to save the nuclear deal. 

The statement comes in response to the damage caused by an explosion at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. And Iran blames Israel for this. 

Iran will be short of the 90% uranium enrichment necessary to fabricate nuclear weapons, but this will bring Iran closer to its nuclear goal than ever before. 

Iran had been enriching uranium to 20% for the past three months. This is the same level at which Tehran was operating before the deal. 

Araghchi said that another 1,000 centrifuges with more enrichment capacity will replace the damaged ones at the Natanz facility. 

The state of play: 

The Vienna talks were to continue, but postponed because a member of the EU delegation became positive for COVID-19, said Araghchi. 

Meanwhile, on Iran matters, senior officials from both U.S. and Israel will meet on 20th April for a strategic dialogue. 

However, the Biden administration showed no interest in the Natanz explosion and said it hopes the Vienna talks will go as planned. 

The big news: 

Shortly after Iran’s decision, the Iran media reported that an Israeli ship was attacked in the Gulf of Oman. And expectedly, Israel confirmed the report that says Iran is behind the attack. 

Press Secretary at White House, Jen Psaki, said the “provocative Iranian announcement… calls into question Iran’s seriousness” in the talks. But he also emphasized that the U.S. would continue diplomacy with Iran. 

What’s next:

The U.S. and Israel are likely to continue strategic talks on Iran at the end of this month. 

The White House said that during the virtual talks between the parties, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan “warmly invited” Meir Ben-Shabbat, to visit D.C. before the end of this month to pursue the consultations.

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