60% Enrichment an Answer to Israel’s Nuclear Terrorism

60% Enrichment an Answer to Israel’s Nuclear Terrorism
60% Enrichment an Answer to Israel’s Nuclear Terrorism

President Hassan Rouhani said the initiation of uranium enrichment to 60% purity level is Iran’s reaction to the Zionist regime’s recent act of sabotage at the Natanz facility, which he described as nuclear terrorism. 
“Our response at Natanz is that instead of 3.67% enrichment [under the 2015 nuclear deal], we will now enrich to 60%,” he said at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, reported.
On Sunday, the underground Natanz facility suffered an electrical disruption in what is widely regarded an Israeli cyberattack that damaged Iran’s first-generation centrifuge machines.
In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran announced on Tuesday that it will add 1,000 new centrifuges to the previous 5,060 machines already operating at Natanz, in addition to replacements for those damaged in the attack. 
The new centrifuges will be first-generation IR-1, but with a 50% higher efficiency. 
According to the letter, 60%-purity uranium production line will be launched at the site.  
Iran’s IAEA envoy said in a tweet that “enriching UF6 up to 60% will be done in two cascades of IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges at Natanz”. 
“Modification of the process has just started and we expect to amass the product next week. This will significantly improve both the quality and quantity of radiopharmaceutical products,” Kazem Gharibabadi added.
Rouhani said enemies seek to disrupt Iran’s peaceful and legal nuclear technology that is under IAEA monitoring, but Iran will respond within legal frameworks.  
“We will respond to your plots, but I repeat, our activities will be definitely and exclusively peaceful and under IAEA supervision,” he said.  
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the 60% enriched uranium is needed to produce the raw material for a range of radiopharmaceuticals, which is chiefly imported at present.
“With higher enrichment levels, our products will be more efficient and of better quality and take a shorter time,” he told ISNA. 
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi also said the higher enriched uranium will be produced only as much as needed for medical purposes.     



Extra Leverage 

The recent developments took place amid diplomatic efforts to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, after the United States abandoned it three years ago and Iran reciprocated by surpassing the limits of the accord. 
Negotiations are ongoing in Vienna, Austria, between Iran and the remaining members, who will separately talk with the US, to work out a feasible process for Washington’s sanctions lifting and Tehran’s full nuclear implementation.
Rouhani said the sabotage at Natanz was aimed at diminishing the Islamic Republic’s negotiating power in Vienna, but on the contrary, Iran will enter talks with extra leverage. 
Araqchi, who is heading Iran’s delegation in JCPOA talks, said the incident boosted Iran’s determination to make progress both in the nuclear industry and at the negotiating table. 
Meanwhile, France, Germany and Britain expressed grave concern over the move, calling it contrary to efforts to revive the deal. 
“Iran’s announcements are particularly regrettable given they come at a time when all JCPOA participants and the United States have started substantive discussions, with the objective of finding a rapid diplomatic solution to revitalize and restore the JCPOA,” the three countries said.
In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called Iran's announcement "provocative", adding that it called into question Tehran's seriousness on nuclear talks.
Iran insists that all its remedial measures will be immediately reversed once the US lifts all its sanctions and Iran verifies its effectiveness. 
JCPOA’s Joint Commission was set to convene on Wednesday but the session was postponed to Thursday, reportedly due to a European Union official’s infection with the coronavirus. 
Delegates are holding unofficial bilateral and multilateral meetings.  

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