Iran able to enrich uranium up to 60 percent: Official

Behrouz Kamalvandi answers the press in the capital Tehran on July 17, 2018. (AFP)

Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium up to 60 percent, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Saturday, far more than is required for most civilian uses but short of the 90 percent needed to make nuclear bomb fuel.

“The organization has the possibility to produce 5 percent, 20 percent and 60 percent, and has this capacity,” AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said during a news conference at the underground Fordow nuclear plant, the official IRIB news agency reported.

“At the moment, the need is for 5 percent,” he added.

Iran’s highest political authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last month that the Islamic Republic had never pursued the building or use of nuclear weapons, which its religion forbids.

RELATED: Iran says it is now enriching uranium to five percent

Iran said on Thursday it had resumed uranium enrichment at Fordow, stepping further away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers after the United States pulled out of it.

The pact bans production of nuclear material at Fordow, a highly sensitive site that Iran hid from UN non-proliferation inspectors until its exposure in 2009.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit Fordow on Sunday, Kamalvandi said.

Since May, Iran has begun to exceed limits on its nuclear capacity set by the pact in retaliation for US pressure on Tehran to negotiate restrictions on its ballistic missile program and support for proxy forces around the Middle East.

Iran says its measures are reversible if European signatories to the accord manage to restore its access to foreign trade promised under the nuclear deal but blocked by the re-imposition of US sanctions.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56
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