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Iran's production of 60% enriched uranium 'underway' -- official

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-04-16 18:39

TEHRAN - Iran has started producing uranium enriched at a 60-percent purity, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Friday.

"The 60-percent enrichment is currently underway at the Shahid Ahmadi Roshan nuclear facility" in central Iran's Natanz, Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview with the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Meanwhile, "I am proud to announce that at 00:40 (2010 GMT Thursday) ... Iranian scientists were able to obtain a 60-percent enriched uranium product," Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf wrote on social media.

After a blackout struck the Natanz enrichment facility on Sunday morning, Iran accused Israel of sabotaging its nuclear site and announced on Tuesday a plan to begin enriching uranium at a higher purity.

In an interview with state TV on Friday, Salehi said that the enrichment of uranium has not stopped at any moment after the blackout incident.

The order for the 60-percent enrichment was given on Wednesday, and the first product was obtained on Friday after midnight, he noted.

"We are currently producing 9 grams per hour, so we have to work on the arrangement and efficiency of the cascades," Salehi said.

The speed at which 60-percent enriched uranium is being produced may be reduced afterward, he added, since Iran will be simultaneously enriching uranium at a 20-percent degree of purity.

The preparations for simultaneous enrichment of uranium at two different degrees of purity are currently underway and amount to a "technical revolution" in Iran's nuclear industry, the head of the AEOI said.

Under the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran is allowed to enrich uranium only up to 3.67-percent purity and its stockpile should not be more than 300 kg.

However, Iran has been scaling down its compliance to its JCPOA obligations since the United States withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions on the country. On Jan 4, Iran started to produce uranium enrichment of 20-percent purity.

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