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Iran increases its uranium reserves enriched to up to 20%

Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi answers the press in the capital Tehran on 17 July 2018. [ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images]
Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi answers the press in the capital Tehran on 17 July 2018. [ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images]

Iran has made 55 kilogrammes of uranium enriched to up to 20 per cent, indicating quicker production than the ten kilogramme a month rate required by an Iranian law that created the process in January, local media reported yesterday.

Iran has the capability to enrich uranium from 40 per cent to 60 per cent, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi said, according to the Fars News Agency.

"Yesterday [Monday] we started 20 per cent enrichment at Fordow [nuclear facility] after six years," Kamalvandi said, adding: "We have the capacity in the nuclear industry to produce at higher levels, even 40-60 per cent."

Speaking to Fars, he continued: "Currently, we have four tons of substance with 3.5 and 4 per cent enrichment and, according to the forecast based on the parliament's ratification, we will increase our capacity almost to 500 tons per month."

"This means," he explained, "six tons annually and we can say that within a year we will have nearly 10 tons of uranium equal to the capacity prior to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," in reference to the nuclear deal the Islamic Republic signed with world powers in 2015 in order to limit its nuclear capabilities in return for sanctions to be lifted off it.

On Monday, the Iranian government announced it had resumed enriching uranium to up to 20 per cent at Fordow.

The level of purity – 40 per cent lower than what the AEOI spokesman said the facility is capable of – violates the 2015 nuclear deal signed with six large world powers, including the United States.

Iran has repeatedly warned that it would not commit to pledges made as part of the deal after the US unilaterally withdrew from it and imposed "unprecedented" sanctions on Tehran in 2018.

READ: Houthi leader warns Iran not to stop uranium enrichment

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