TEHRAN — Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, announced in Vienna on Tuesday that Iran has sent a letter to the IAEA informing the body that the Islamic Republic intends to start enriching uranium to up to 60% purity.
Araghchi broke the story as he visited Vienna on Tuesday for nuclear deal talks with P4 + 1 group, which is set to start on Thursday.
Addition of centrifuges at Natanz nuclear site.
Abbas Araghchi emphasized that another 1,000 centrifuges with 50% more capacity will be added to the existing machines in Natanz, in addition to replacing the damaged machines.
In a speech to the Assembly of Experts last year, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, stressed, “The Islamic Republic will not back down from its rational position on the nuclear issue, and according to the interests and needs of the country, it will go as far as 60% enrichment as needed.”
IAEA was informed of Iran’s decision to enrich 60% uranium, says AEOI spokesman
Behrouz Kamalvandi spoke with the state news agency IRNA on Tuesday afternoon, revealing details about Iran’s decision to enrich uranium up to 60%, stating that the process will start on Tuesday night.
“By the order of the president, the Atomic Energy Organization (of Iran) it was instructed to launch a 60% uranium production line in the amount required within the framework of Article 1 of the law on Strategic Action for Lifting Sanctions, approved by the parliament,” Kamalvandi said.
He stated that in this regard, the DIQ (Design Information Questionnaire) was immediately submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the executive preparations for this work will begin in the enrichment facility on Tuesday night. He said that additional information will be released soon.
“From tonight, the executive preparations for 60% enrichment will begin in Natanz. 60% uranium is used to make a variety of radiopharmaceuticals,” spokesman for Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said.
“Tonight, the new IR1 centrifuges will replace the broken ones, and the new IR1s will have a capacity of 50% more than the previous ones.” Kamalvandi added.
It should be noted that 60% enriched uranium is used in the production of molybdenum to be used in the manufacture of radiopharmaceuticals.
Based on the timing, Iran’s declaration of 60 percent enrichment seemed to be an attempt to send a message to the global powers with whom it is negotiating about its nuclear program that, after the sabotage act at Natanz on Sunday, it can maintain pressure on them.
Iran definitely moving towards 60% enrichment, says Salehi
“Replaced centrifuges are among the most advanced centrifuges, and we are definitely moving towards 60% enrichment,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, the AEOI director.
“The emergency power supply of the Natanz facility is currently connected and the main power supply will be connected in the coming days,” he stated.
He also stated that damaged centrifuges replaced with the most advanced centrifuges.
“Each and every centrifuge is being inspected and damaged centrifuges will be replaced,” Salehi said.
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