U.S. As tensions escalated, Iran increased uranium enrichment and seized the tanker

Iran also seized a South Korean-flagged chemical tanker in the Persian Gulf on Monday, semi-official news agencies and a maritime security risk management company called Dry Global said.

Iran is currently enriching its uranium stockpile to about 4.5%%, which is higher than the 67.67 %% imposed by the nuclear deal of 201 nuclear, but shorter than 0% of the weapons-grade. Iran has consistently denied its intention to acquire nuclear weapons.

IAEA spokesman Frederick Dahl told CNN on Friday that the country had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its goal of continuing uranium enrichment to 20%.

The ramp-up poses a challenge to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who vowed to revive the deal when he took office. Instead of resuming sanctions on the Iranian regime, President Donald Trump withdrew from the joint agreement in 2018.

Ali Rabi, a spokesman for the Iranian government, said on Monday that the country would begin enrichment at the Fordo site “a few hours ago”, considering that the first enriched uranium of UF6 would be produced in a few hours.

The IRNA quoted Rabi as saying that all necessary steps have been taken to provide information to the IAEA.

Last month, Iran’s parliament passed a bill that would increase uranium enrichment to pre-2015 levels and block nuclear inspections if sanctions were not lifted following the assassination of a top nuclear scientist.

“The law allows Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization to produce at least 120 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium annually and store it inside the country,” the Mehr news agency reported.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in January 2020 that Iran was enriching more uranium before the deal was struck, and in March the UN found that the country had almost tripled its stoppage in a matter of months.

Rouhani, whose government signed the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, opposed last month’s bill, arguing it would undermine diplomacy.

The Iranian government has repeatedly called on the United States to restore the agreement that Trump withdrew in 2018.

The tanker captured

Meanwhile on Monday news agencies and the Dry Global firm reported that Iran had seized a chemical tanker with a South Korean flag.

According to Dry Global, reports indicate that the South Korean flag chemical chemical tanker Hankku Chaimi (IMO: 9232369) has been detained by the Iranian military on its way inside the Fujairah in the Straits of Hormuz.

It added that 23 crew members were aboard.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade rations Operations (UKMTO), which is part of Britain’s Royal Navy, said there was “interaction” between a merchant ship and Iranian officials on the Strait of Hormuz, forcing the ship to “change Iranian territories”. “

Iran said the mountain was “seized to create environmental and chemical pollution in the Persian Gulf,” the semi-official news agency Tasnim said. The ship was intercepted by the IRGC Navy, according to Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency.

CNN has reached out to the South Korean government to make a comment.