Iran to manufacture uranium metal in latest violation of nuclear deal

Iran to manufacture uranium metal in latest violation of nuclear deal”

Analysts say that with the move toward the production of uranium metal, Iran is possibly trying to put pressure on the next United States administration of incoming President Joe Biden, in an attempt to have sanctions lifted.

"If the United States decides to return to the JCPOA without lifting sanctions, this would amount to extortion, because [Washington would then] put forward a new request for the lifting of every ban", Kharrazi said, his remarks published by Khamenei's official website and cited in English by PressTV.

Iranian officials told the IAEA that the material would be enriched up to 20% and used for fuel at Tehran's research reactor, according to the watchdog report, first revealed by Reuters.

According to Kharrazi's calculations, since abrogating its commitments under the JCPOA, the USA has sanctioned over 1,500 Iranian companies and individuals, "and that does not include [restrictions against] organizations and other sanctions".

As part of the landmark deal, Iran agreed not to engage in the production of uranium metals for 15 years and to seek approval if it sought to initiate research and development on uranium metal after 10 years, among other commitments.

They are the latest in a series of measures aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran in the waning days of President Donald Trump's administration, which ends on Wednesday.

The foreign ministers of the three European nations said in a joint statement then that the Iranian activity has no credible civil justification.

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Last week, Iran said it had resumed enrichment of uranium to 20% purity. Iranian leaders have accused Israel of orchestrating the attack.

Iran has launched research and development for the production of uranium metal, which could be used to make material for nuclear weapons.

The Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi announced on January 5th that now IR1centrifuges are utilized to produce 20 % enriched uranium, adding that Iran has the capacity to use IR4, IR2M, and IR6 centrifuges as well. The U.S. also designated the former secretary general of the powerful Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia in Iraq.

It had so far only gone as far as 4.5%, above the 3.67% limit imposed by the deal but still far short of the 90% that is weapons-grade.

President Trump withdrew the USA from the agreement in 2018, but Iran is still part of the worldwide agreement that also includes the U.K., France, Germany, China, and Russian Federation. Some argued that 20% enrichment, production of uranium metal and eviction of nuclear inspectors not only jeopardized any effort to restore the accord but risked solidifying US sanctions.

Iran has been accelerating its breaches of the deal in the past two months.

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