Iran has begun enriching uranium to 60% purity at its underground Fordow nuclear facility, according to state media on Tuesday, which described the move as a response to the UN nuclear watchdog’s demands for more cooperation from Tehran.
Iran already enriches uranium to up to 60% purity elsewhere, well below the roughly 90% needed for weapons-grade material but above the 20% it produced before a 2015 deal with major powers to limit enrichment to 3.67%.
“In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has informed the agency that it has begun enriching uranium to 60% purity at the Fordow facility,” the semi-official ISNA news agency reported, adding that it was a “strong response” to the agency’s latest resolution.
The IAEA’s 35-nation board on Thursday adopted a resolution ordering Iran to cooperate urgently with the agency’s investigation into traces of uranium found at three undeclared sites, diplomats said at the closed-door vote.
Iran’s SNN network said Tehran will also build a new set of centrifuges at its Natanz and Fordow nuclear facilities.
In June, Reuters reported that Tehran further escalated its uranium enrichment by preparing to use advanced IR-6 centrifuges at the Fordow site, which can easily switch between enrichment levels.
The IAEA resolution is the second this year to target Iran over the investigation, which has become a stumbling block to talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as Iran has called for the investigation to end.
Iran’s foreign ministry on Monday dismissed the resolution as “politically motivated”.