Iran announces that it has begun enriching uranium up to 20% using sophisticated centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear plant, state TV reports, an escalation that comes amid a standoff with the West over its tattered atomic deal.
That Tehran is enriching uranium up to 20% purity — a technical step from weapons-grade levels of 90% — with a new set of its most advanced centrifuges at a facility deep inside a mountain deals yet another blow to the already slim chances of reviving the accord.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, says uranium enriched to 20% was being collected for the first time from advanced IR-6 centrifuges. He says Iran informed the UN nuclear watchdog about the development two weeks ago.
Iran had previously told the IAEA that it was preparing to enrich uranium through a new cascade of 166 advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Fordo facility. But it hadn’t revealed the level at which the cascade would be enriching.