Iran nuclear deal

Iran to enrich uranium to 20 percent even after sanctions lifted: Nuclear chief

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Iran will continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity even after sanctions on Tehran are lifted, the country’s nuclear chief said on Friday, amid efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Even with the lifting of sanctions,” Iran will continue to enrich uranium to “five and 20 percent,” Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

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Eslami said Iran continues to enrich uranium up to 60 percent purity, which “prompted Westerners to rush to negotiations (with Iran).”

The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers restricted the purity to which Tehran can enrich uranium to 3.67 percent.

The US withdrew from the deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, prompting Iran to breach the deal’s restrictions.

Tehran has since started enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity – a big step closer to the 90 percent required for weapons-grade material.

Talks aimed at reviving the deal between the deal’s remaining signatories – Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – are currently taking place in Vienna.

The US is participating indirectly in the talks due to Iran’s refusal to negotiate directly with Washington.

The Vienna talks, which began in April 2021, aim to bring Iran back into compliance with the deal and facilitate a US return to the agreement. The deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

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