Iran undoes slowdown in enrichment of uranium to near weapons-grade -IAEA

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Iran has reversed a months-long slowdown in the rate at which it is enriching uranium to up to 60% purity, close to weapons grade, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday.

Many diplomats believed the slowdown, which had begun by June, was the result of secret talks between the United States and Iran that led to the release of U.S. citizens held in Iran earlier this year.

Iran already has enough uranium enriched to up to 60%, if enriched further, to make three nuclear bombs, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s theoretical definition, and more at lower enrichment levels. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

Iran has “increased its production of highly enriched uranium, reversing a previous output reduction from mid-2023”, the IAEA said in a statement summarising a confidential report to member states seen by Reuters that was sent minutes earlier.

Iran is enriching to up to 60%, close to the roughly 90% that is weapons grade, at its Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) in its sprawling Natanz complex and at its Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), which is dug into a mountain.

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