Iran's atomic agency claims it has 120kg of 20% enriched uranium

Foreign minister says he is optimistic about talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal

Iran has amassed more than 120 kilograms of 20-per-cent-enriched uranium, the head of the country's atomic energy agency said on Saturday.

“We have passed 120 kilograms,” said Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran. “We have more than that figure.

“Our people know well that they [Western powers] were meant to give us the enriched fuel at 20 per cent to use in the Tehran reactor, but they haven't done so. If our colleagues do not do it, we would naturally have problems with the lack of fuel for the Tehran reactor.”

Enriched uranium is a critical component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.

In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had boosted its stocks enriched above the percentage allowed in the 2015 deal with world powers.

It estimated that Iran had 84.3kg of uranium enriched to 20 per cent. That was up from 62.8kg reported in May.

Under the deal, Iran was not meant to enrich uranium above 3.67 per cent, well below the 90 per cent threshold needed for use in a nuclear weapon.

Under the 2015 agreement, China, France, Germany, the UK and the US agreed to lift some sanctions against Iran if Tehran cut back its nuclear programme.

But since former president Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the deal in 2018, Tehran has progressively abandoned its commitments under the agreement, and the US has imposed fresh sanctions in response.

On Friday, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said he was optimistic that talks on reviving the deal would make progress, provided Washington fully resumed its commitments.

Updated: October 10th 2021, 8:28 AM
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