Iran wants to enrich uranium up to 20 percent, just as it did for 2015 nuclear deal

Iran has informed the United Nations nuclear watchdog that it wants to enrich uranium to a 20% purity, a level at which it enriched uranium before the 2015 nuclear agreement.

The announcement is the latest in a series of decisions that Iran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of and continues to violate the 2015 agreements. Thus, the country enriched ten times more uranium than the deal allowed. In addition, Iran cannot enrich uranium more than 3.67 per cent purity, but it is already at 4.5%. For a nuclear weapon, uranium needs to be enriched above 90% purity.

Last month, the Iranian parliament passed a law stipulating that uranium enrichment should be increased in new plants. That will happen at the nuclear facility built in a mountain in Fordo, south of Tehran. When Iran is going to start it is not clear.

The law is presumably a response to the liquidation of the prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was seen as the mastermind behind the countrys nuclear program. According to Iran, Israel was behind the assassination attempt.

Fragile Accord

The Atomic Agreement was signed by Iran, the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany. The deal was intended to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon. In return, international sanctions against Iran were removed.

In 2018, President Trump announced that the US would unilaterally withdraw from the agreement, because Iran would have continued to develop nuclear weapons despite the deal. U.S. then resurrected the sanctions. Iran partially cancelled the agreement a year later.