With Iran resuming enrichment of 20% uranium at an underground nuclear facility, in breach of the 2015 nuclear pact and potentially complicating efforts by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to rejoin the deal,Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, the move is aimed at developing nuclear weapons and that Israel would never allow Tehran to build them.
Iran’s decision to enrich uranium, marking its latest contravention of the accord, coincides with increasing tensions between the United States and Iran.
“A few minutes ago, the process of producing 20% enriched uranium has started in Fordow enrichment complex,” said Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei to Iranian state media.
The United Nation’s nuclear watchdog has also confirmed that Iran has begun the process of enriching uranium to 20% purity at its Fordow site.
“Iran today began feeding uranium already enriched up to 4.1 percent U-235 into six centrifuge cascades at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant for further enrichment up to 20%,” said the IAEA in a statement.
This step by Iran was one of many mentioned in a law which it’s parliament passed last month in response to the killing of its top nuclear scientist; Tehran has blamed Israel for his death without providing any evidence.
“Our measures are fully reversible upon FULL compliance by ALL (parties to the deal),” tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Tehran insists that it can quickly reverse its breaches of the 2015 accord once U.S. sanctions are removed.
Biden has publicly said, the United States will rejoin the deal “if Iran resumes strict compliance” with the pact.
The Biden transition team declined to comment about Iran’s enrichment move.
Tehran’s enrichment move could be part of its strategic move to accumulate bargaining negotiating chips in potentially upcoming talks with the Biden administration.
A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department accused Iran of “nuclear extortion.”