Iran begins enriching uranium to 60%

19 April 2021

Iran on 17 April began enriching uranium up to 60%, after previously notifying the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its intention to do so. Enrichment to 60% uranium-235 is being carried out in two cascades of IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges at the Natanz facility.

Kazem Gharibabadi (Image: Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN Office in Vienna)

"The Agency today [17 April] verified that Iran had begun the production of UF6 enriched up to 60% by feeding UF6 enriched up to 5% into the two cascades of IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges in R&D lines," Kazem Gharibabadi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office in Vienna, tweeted.

Gharibabadi had previously on 13 April notified the IAEA that Iran would begin enriching uranium to 60%, which he said would improve the "quality and quantity" of radiopharmaceuticals produced by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI). The move, he said, was in response to a recent incident at the Natanz facility, described by AEOI head Ali Akbar Salehi as an "act of sabotage".

The governments of France, Germany and the UK on 14 April responded to Iran's plans to enrich to 60% with "grave concern", while US President Joe Biden on 16 April, said the move was not "at all helpful" and was contrary to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).  "We are, though, nonetheless pleased that Iran has continued to agree to engage … in direct discussions with us and with our partners on how we move forward and what is needed to allow us to move back into the [JCPoA]," he said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News