Iran Says 60 Percent Uranium Enrichment Is Reversible if U.S. Revokes Sanctions

Iran began enriching uranium to 60 percent purity as a response to an explosion in Natanz, a move that has further complicated talks aimed at reviving the 2015 deal

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani listens to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi while visiting an exhibition of Iran's new nuclear achievements in Tehran, two weeks ago.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani listens to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi while visiting an exhibition of Iran's new nuclear achievements in Tehran, two weeks agoCredit: ,AP
Reuters
Reuters

Iran began enriching uranium to 60 percent purity in order to show its technical capacity after a sabotage attack at a nuclear plant, and the move is quickly reversible if the United States lifts sanctions, the Iranian government said on Tuesday.

Talks in Vienna aimed at bringing the United States and Iran back to full compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal have been further complicated by an explosion at Iran's main uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

Iran has responded by saying it is enriching uranium to 60 percent fissile purity, a big step towards weapons-grade from the 20 percent it had previously achieved. The 2015 pact between Iran and world powers had capped the level of enrichment purity at 3.67 percent – suitable for generating civilian nuclear energy. Iran denies seeking a nuclear weapon.

Israel’s Iran-baiting could backfire on Bibi: Listen to Yossi Melman

"The start of 60 percent enrichment in Natanz was a demonstration of our technical ability to respond to terrorist sabotage at these facilities," Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters in Tehran.

"As in previous steps (in curbing Iran's commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal), ... this measure can quickly be reversed for a return to the agreed enrichment level in the nuclear accord if other parties commit to their obligations," Rabiei said, in remarks streamed live on a state-run website.

Tehran says the Natanz blast was an act of sabotage by Israel, and on Saturday Iranian authorities named a suspect. Israel has not formally commented on the incident.

Iran responded to the explosion by saying it is enriching uranium to 60 percent.

Iran and world powers have made some progress on how to revive the 2015 nuclear accord later abandoned by the United States, and an interim deal could be a way to gain time for a lasting settlement, Iranian officials said on Monday.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told visiting British Cabinet Office Minister Michel Gove that Iran should not be permitted to obtain a nuclear weapon.

"Iran is undermining stability in the entire Middle East and the international community must act to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. Not today and not in the future," an Israeli statement quoted Ashkenazi as saying.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op