Iran ramps up uranium enrichment

The threats, made by the spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency, would go far beyond the small steps Iran has taken in the past week to nudge its stocks of fissile material just beyond limits in the nuclear pact.

That could raise serious questions about whether the agreement, intended to block Iran from making a nuclear weapon, is still viable.

Behrouz Kamalvindi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, confirmed an announcement that Tehran had enriched uranium beyond the 3.67 per cent purity that the deal allows, passing 4.5 per cent, according to the student’s news agency INSA.

That followed an announcement a week ago that it had amassed a greater quantity of low-enriched uranium than permitted.

Iran has said it will take another, third step away from the deal within 60 days but has so far held back from formally announcing what that next step would entail.

Kamalvindi said the authorities were discussing options that included the prospect of enriching uranium to 20 per cent purity or beyond, and restarting centrifuges that were dismantled as one of the deal’s core aims.

Read the article by Babak Dehghanpisheh and Tuqa Khalid in The Canberra Times.