Iran says it will enrich uranium to 60%, highest level ever

Iran says it will enrich uranium to 60%, highest level ever”

"This act of sabotage damaged not only Natanz, but also the Biden administration's plan to return to compliance with the nuclear deal", said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association, a Washington think tank.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Natanz incident was "not a positive contribution" to the diplomatic process underway in Vienna, where the United States and Iran are holding indirect talks on a possible return to the 2015 nuclear deal from which former president Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

On Friday, the United Nations nuclear watchdog noted a new breach by Iran of the nuclear deal with world powers at the same time talks were going on to renew the agreement, according to a report shown to Reuters. Enriching uranium to 60% purity would push Iran much closer to weapons-grade levels, which is 90%, and well beyond the 3.67% limitation on uranium enrichment set by the 2015 nuclear deal.

The details of the Natanz incident remain unclear, but reports indicate that it involved a systemic power failure caused by a massive cyber-attack, resulting in serious damage to the facility.

But both the USA and Iran signaled full-steam ahead on Monday with their indirect negotiations, while Iran's foreign minister accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government of trying to derail those talks.

Rhode said it may make "American negotiators feel good about themselves, but to our allies that have relied on the United States for protection and to enforce the worldwide order, the word "indirect" and "direct" make no difference since the result is the same".

Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, re-imposing strict sanctions and pushing to destroy the agreement. Highly enriched uranium has a concentration of 20% or more and is used in research reactors.

While Biden has called for both sides returning to the deal - and then pursuing a "longer and stronger" follow-on agreement - talks only started last week through intermediaries, as Iran refuses to meet the USA face-to-face so far.

Natanz has been at the heart of those restrictions.

Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday
Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday

The foreign minister of Germany was criticized on Monday after he expressed disapproval of the sabotaging over the weekend of Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, which has been widely attributed to Israel.

According to Pompeo, the Biden administration believes that if the USA does not strike a nuclear deal, it will incite war; even though the Trump administration proved this theory wrong. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday the US was "not involved in any manner". But Iran insists that all sanctions should be lifted at once. "We will not allow this act of sabotage to affect the nuclear talks".

The Iranian regime blamed Israel for the attack, which it called "nuclear terrorism", and said it would take revenge.

But if talks continue, there could be an escalation in the region. In May 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Obama-era pact, raising tensions with Iran and setting off a series of events that raised fears of a new war in the Middle East. Israel, which views Iran as a threat, has consistently been a vocal opponent of the JCPOA and any efforts to restore the pact. Last July, there was a mysterious explosion at its advanced centrifuge production plant, while in November, Iran accused Israel of assassinating a nuclear scientist who launched its military nuclear program years ago.

This announcement came after an apparent Israeli attack on an important Iranian nuclear facility.

The two countries have also been engaged in a shadow war at sea.

"Israel played a very bad gamble if it thought that the attack will weaken Iran's hand in the nuclear talks", Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart in Tehran.

"What happened in Natanz makes it possible for Iran to legally do whatever it takes to. compensate for this terrorist stupidity", said Zarif.

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