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Iran says production of enriched uranium exceeds goals

Iran has exceeded 17 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium within a month’s time, state TV reports, moving its nuclear program closer to weapons-grade enrichment levels amid heightened tensions with the US.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, during a visit to the country’s Fordo nuclear facility, says in a televised speech that in less than a month, scientists passed 17 kilograms (37.5 pounds) of 20% enriched uranium.

Uranium enriched to 20% is a short technical step away from weapons-grade 90% enrichment. Western nations have criticized Iran’s enrichment activity and called on Tehran to adhere to a 2015 nuclear accord.

Iran has said it would produce 120 kilograms (44 pounds) of 20% enriched uranium per year, or 12 kilograms per month on average, so 17 kilograms would exceed that timetable.

Roughly 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of 20% enriched uranium are needed to convert it into 25 kilograms of the 90% enriched needed for a nuclear weapon.

The development brings Iran closer to crossing the line between nuclear operations with a potential civilian use, such as enriching nuclear fuel for power-generating reactors, and nuclear-weapons work, something Tehran has long denied ever carrying out.

In this photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, spokesman of the organization Behrouz Kamalvandi, center, briefs the media while visiting Fordo nuclear site near Qom, south of Tehran, Iran, Nov. 9, 2019. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

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