Iran has increased its stockpile of 60% enriched uranium to 25kg, state media has revealed. The announcement comes shortly after a date was set for the resumption of nuclear talks between Tehran and other world powers.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, was quoted by state media on Friday as saying that the Islamic Republic has so far “produced 25 kilograms [55 pounds] of 60% uranium.”
“Except for countries with nuclear weapons, no other country is able to produce” this much, he proclaimed.
Kamalvandi’s revelation comes just days after Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, shared that Tehran had agreed to restart negotiations in Vienna on November 29, which was confirmed by the EU’s external action service shortly after.
The US, United Kingdom, France, and Germany issued a joint statement at the end of October at the G20 conference, expressing “grave and growing concern” over the Islamic Republic’s atomic program. The countries also urged President Ebrahim Raisi to return “to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a matter of urgency.”
Talks on reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have stalled since Raisi assumed office in August. The accord was originally signed in 2015 between Tehran, Beijing, Paris, Moscow, London, Washington, and Berlin.
Former US President Donald Trump, however, unilaterally withdrew America from the accord in 2018 and slapped heavy sanctions on Tehran. Iran, in response, began enriching its uranium above the 3.67% purity outlined in the JCPOA – a level deemed suitable for most civilian nuclear energy.
The Islamic republic’s then-president, Hassan Rouhani, said in July that Tehran has the capacity, if Iranian authorities deem it necessary, to enrich uranium up to 90% – considered the benchmark for the production of nuclear weapons. Iran, however, has sworn it has no desire to create atomic armaments.
President Joe Biden’s administration has shown keen interest in reviving the accord, but has rejected Iran’s demands for sanctions to be lifted as a prerequisite for returning to the negotiating table.
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