Iran has started producing 20 percent enriched uranium, the country’s nuclear organization said, confirming an announcement by the UN atomic watchdog that it was now exceeding the threshold set by a 2015 nuclear deal.
“At around 7 pm (1530 GMT Monday) we reached 20 percent” enrichment, spokesman Behrouz Kamalavandi told state television in an interview aired on Tuesday.
China’s Foreign Ministry urged calm and restraint on Tuesday after Iran said it had resumed 20 percent uranium enrichment, breaching a 2015 nuclear pact with major powers, including China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, speaking to reporters, said all parties should avoid taking steps that could exacerbate tensions.
Japan’s top government spokesman on Tuesday said the country was deeply concerned about Iran’s latest announcement of a resumption of 20 percent uranium enrichment.
“The government has strong concerns about this move, which is a breach of a nuclear agreement,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters.
The US also criticized Iran’s statement that it had begun the process of enriching uranium to 20 percent, well above the limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal that Washington abandoned, as a form of “nuclear extortion.”