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18 Jan, 2021 10:55

Iran producing half a kilo of 20%-enriched uranium every day without technical problems, says country’s atomic energy boss

Iran producing half a kilo of 20%-enriched uranium every day without technical problems, says country’s atomic energy boss

Iran’s atomic energy chief has said the country is ready to cut back its uranium enrichment program if the US returns to the 2015 nuclear deal but says sites are now delivering almost half a kilo per day.

Speaking on Monday, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, announced that Iranian nuclear facilities were now producing 20 grams of 20 precent enriched uranium every hour.

“Based on the latest news I have, they [Iranian scientists at its nuclear installations] are producing 20 grams (of 20-percent enriched uranium) every hour; meaning that, practically, we are producing half a kilo every day,” Salehi said, in an interview with the Persian-language Khamenei.ir website.

Salehi said that Iran’s nuclear facilities were able to increase enrichment to 20 percent within just 24 hours of a parliament decree. He added that there have not been any technical hitches.

The atomic energy boss said that Iran is prepared to reduce its enrichment program but this would be dependent on US action. He stated that the US must return to the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and remove all sanctions against Iran, especially those that prevent the country’s oil sales and banking transactions.

“We produce and store this 20 percent [enriched uranium] and, if they return to the nuclear deal, we will return to our undertakings, too,” he noted.

Iran’s current 20-percent enrichment program is higher than the 3.67-percent level agreed in the 2015 nuclear deal, but still far below the 90-percent level that is considered weapons-grade.  

Also on rt.com Only weeks left to save Iran nuclear deal, says IAEA chief

Last week, Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned that time is running out to revive the Iran nuclear deal, contending that the world had entered "a new reality" with Iran hollowing out the remains of the JCPOA. 

Tehran has already sought to put the new US government under pressure. On January 9, an Iranian spokesperson said the incoming Biden administration, which takes office on January 20, will have until February 21 to reverse US sanctions on Iran.

Outgoing President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the JCPOA in 2018. Washington also introduced crippling sanctions against Iran.

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