Iran confirmed in a statement that the country has started the process of enriching uranium to 60% fissile purity at an above-ground nuclear plant at Natanz, UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday.
According to Reuters, this move has complicated negotiations aimed at reviving Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers.
Iran’s uranium enrichment is a major step towards producing weapons-grade uranium.
Previously Iran had reached 20% purity that already was a breach of the deal, Iran is only allowed to enrich to 3.67 percent.
Iran took this step up in response to an explosion at a larger underground fuel enrichment plant at Natanz.
Reuters reported that Israel was blamed for the attack and a named individual is wanted in connection to the explosion.
“The Agency today verified that Iran had begun the production of UF6 enriched up to 60%… at the (above-ground) Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement, Reuters reported.
The UF6 uranium hexafluoride is a form in which uranium is fed into centrifuges for further enrichment.
A secrete and confidential IAEA report, seen by Reuters further elaborated, “According to Iran’s declaration to the Agency, the enrichment level of the UF6 produced at PFEP was 55.3% U-235. The Agency took a sample of the produced UF6 for destructive analysis to independently verify the enrichment level declared by Iran.
The results of this analysis will be reported by the Agency in due course,” the report added.