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Iran to begin enriching uranium at 60 pct purity: State media

Published: Updated:

Iran will begin enriching uranium at 60 percent purity starting Wednesday, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi announced on Tuesday, state media reported.

“Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its plan to start 60 percent uranium enrichment as of Wednesday,” Iran’s Press TV cited Araghchi as saying.

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The announcement comes after an attack on Sunday on Natanz, a key nuclear site in central Iran, for which Tehran has held arch-foe Israel responsible. Iranian authorities have described the attack as “nuclear terrorism” and vowed revenge. Israel has not commented on the incident.

Iran will “soon” replace the centrifuges that were damaged in Sunday’s attack on Natanz, as well as install an additional 1,000 centrifuges of 50 percent higher enrichment capacity at the nuclear site, Araghchi said, according to Press TV.

Shortly after the announcement, Iranian state media reported that talks scheduled for Wednesday in Vienna between Iran and world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have been postponed to Thursday “due to a member of the European Union delegation contracting coronavirus.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had said in February Tehran might enrich uranium up to 60 percent purity if the country needed it.

“Iran’s uranium enrichment level will not be limited to 20 percent. We will increase it to whatever level the country needs ... We may increase it to 60 percent,” Khamenei said at the time.

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