Iran said on Saturday that it plans to enrich uranium to 20 percent at its underground Fordow nuclear facility as soon as possible, pushing its program beyond weapons-grade levels to technological progress as it increases pressure on the West over a shattered nuclear deal. .
The move comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States in the weak days of President Donald Trump’s administration, which unilaterally withdrew the United States from the Tehran nuclear deal in 2018.
A top Iranian general was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad a year ago, prompting US officials to express concern about possible retaliation by Iran in its upcoming anniversary on Sunday.
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Ali Akbar Salehi, the US-educated head of Iran’s Civil Atomic Energy Organization, also offered military resemblance to describe his agency’s readiness to take the next step.
“We are like soldiers and our fingers are on the triggers,” Salehi told Iranian state television. “The commander should command and we fire. We are ready for this and will produce (20% enriched uranium) as soon as possible.”
The decision comes after a bill was passed by parliament, which was later approved by the constitutional Vogue Dog, aimed at boosting prosperity to force Europe to ease sanctions. He also works under pressure before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who has said he is ready to re-enter the nuclear deal.
The International Atomic Energy Agency acknowledged that Iran had informed its observers of the decision after news leaked overnight on Friday.
“Iran has informed the agency that in order to comply with a law recently passed by the country’s parliament, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization intends to produce 20 percent of its low-enriched uranium at the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant,” the IAEA said in a statement.
The IAEA added that it did not say when Iran planned to increase prosperity, although the agency “has inspectors present in Iran on a 24/7 basis and they have regular access to Fordo.”
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to the IAEA in Vienna, wrote on Twitter on Friday that a Wall Street Journal reporter had broken the news and that Tehran planned to resume 20 percent prosperity.
The IRNA later reported Ulyanov’s remarks, linking it to a decision by parliament to resume further upgrades to Ilya’s underground Fordo facility. No timeline was even offered to start higher upgrades. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Following the collapse of the deal, Iran has resumed prosperity at Fordo, near the holy Shiite city of Qam, about 55 miles southwest of Tehran.
Drawn from the mountains, painted with anti-Ford anti-aircraft guns and other fortifications. It’s about the size of a football field, big enough to hold 3,000 centrifuges, but the U.S. Officials became so small and hard to suspect that they had a military purpose, when they made the site public in 200 publicly.
In the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to limit its prosperity in exchange for sanctions. The agreement also calls for Ford to be turned into a research and development facility.
Agreement Limit 3 .. In violation of 4.567 per cent so far, Iran is enriching uranium to 4.5 .. per cent. Experts say Iran now has enough stockpile of uranium for at least two nuclear weapons, if it chooses to pursue it. Iran has long maintained that its nuclear program is peaceful.
According to satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press in December, Iran has begun construction on a new site at Fordo separately.
Iran’s announcement coincides with the anniversary of last year’s US drone strike in Baghdad by Revolutionary Guards General Qasim Solimani. After the attack, Iran retaliated by launching a ballistic missile strike, injuring dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq. Tehran also accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet that night, killing all 176 people on board.
As the anniversary approaches, the U.S. has sent flying B-52 bombers into the area and sent nuclear-powered submarines into the Persian Gulf.
On Thursday, sailors discovered a limpet mine on a tanker in the Persian Gulf near Iraq near the Iranian border as it prepared to transfer fuel to another tanker owned by a company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
No one has claimed responsibility for the mining, however. The Navy has blamed Iran for a series of attacks. Tehra refused to get involved.
In November, an Iranian scientist who founded the country’s military nuclear program two decades ago was killed in an attack blamed on Tehran.