According to an Iranian negotiator on Tuesday, Iran will begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, which greatly exceeds its current level of 20%, placing one of the world’s biggest state sponsors of terrorism within reach of the 90% enrichment required for weapons-grade capabilities.
The announcement is an apparent response to an alleged attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility by Israel, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stating, “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions… We will not fall into their trap…We will not allow this act of sabotage to affect the nuclear talks. … But we will take our revenge against the Zionists.”
“The announcement marks a significant escalation after the sabotage, suspected of having been carried out by Israel. It could result in further action by Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed never to allow Tehran to obtain a nuclear weapon, and further raise tensions across the Mideast,” reported CBS News.
“We believe that this round of negotiations is the time for the U.S. to present a list. I hope that I can go back to Tehran with the list of sanctions that will be lifted,” nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi said in Vienna, where the talks have been taking place. “Otherwise, I don’t believe we can continue like this. Otherwise, I believe this would be a waste of time.”
According to Araghchi, informal talks will resume on Tuesday evening, with a formal session beginning on Thursday. The talks are scheduled to reconvene in Vienna between Iran and six world powers — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Germany, and Russia. On April 9, the New York Times reported that “Iran Nuclear Talks Start on Positive Note in Vienna,” adding that “Talks in Vienna aimed at reinvigorating the Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration left in 2018 and which Tehran began breaking a year later made some progress this week: They didn’t break down.”
In February, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had threatened to enrich uranium at 60% purity.
“We are determined to develop our nuclear capabilities in line with the needs of the country,” Khamenei reportedly said earlier this year. “For this reason, Iran’s enrichment will not be limited to 20%, and we will take whatever action is necessary for the country.”
Earlier this week, The Daily Wire reported that the “cyberattack allegedly conducted by Israel’s Mossad caused damage to Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility that was so ‘severe’ that the facility might not be able to continue enriching uranium until next year.”
“The strike came only a day after Iranian officials bragged on the nation’s National Nuclear Technology Day about its new centrifuges, which expedite the process needed to create nuclear weapons,” The Daily Wire added.
Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. The 2015 agreement was reached after “two years of grueling negotiations.”
In 2018, Iran said that it would remain in the deal, with these promises running counter to their continued production of highly enriched uranium.
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