Iran still enriching uranium at 60% purity

Iran is still enriching uranium at the purity of 60, 20 and 5 per cent, and it has already accumulated over 90 kg of 20 per cent enriched uranium, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said.

The official made the statement Monday after a telephone conversation with Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Xinhua news agency reported.

During the phone call, Salehi reportedly informed Grossi of Tehran’s decision to extend a temporary agreement regarding the IAEA’s monitoring of Iranian nuclear activities for one month until June 24.

According to a law passed by Iran’s Parliament in December 2020, the AEOI is required to accumulate 120 kg of 20 per cent enriched uranium every year, Salehi noted.

Nevertheless, Iran is obliged under the 2015 nuclear agreement to limit its uranium enrichment to a 3.67 per cent purity and to stockpile no more than 300 kg of the material.

Iran started gradually reducing its commitments to the agreement one year after former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the country out of the deal in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Iran’s reserves of 60 per cent enriched uranium have by now exceeded 2.5 kg, and the 5 per cent enriched uranium reserves are over five tonnes, Salehi added.

The three-month agreement between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog was reached right before a law passed in December 2020 by Iran’s parliament came into effect.

The law mandates Iran’s executive branch to stop implementing the IAEA’s Additional Protocol if sanctions on Iran that should be lifted under the 2015 nuclear agreement continue to be in place by February 23.

Representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and Iran are expected to meet later this week in Vienna to continue negotiations aiming at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.