Politics, Middle East

Iran's nuclear chief says higher uranium enrichment aims to push West to lift sanctions

Tehran has been enriching uranium up to 60% purity against 3.67% allowed in 2015 deal

Syed Zafar Mehdi  | 11.06.2023 - Update : 11.06.2023
Iran's nuclear chief says higher uranium enrichment aims to push West to lift sanctions


The head of Iran's atomic nuclear agency Mohammad Eslami says the country is enriching uranium on a higher scale to force the West to lift sanctions.

In an interview with the local Persian-language newspaper Etilaat on Saturday, Eslami said high-purity enrichment activity carried out in line with the parliamentary law is aimed at lifting sanctions.

Under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Iran was allowed to enrich uranium only up to 3.67% in exchange for easing sanctions. The threshold was breached by Tehran after the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018.

At present, Iran is enriching uranium up to 60% purity at both Natanz nuclear facility in central Isfahan province and the underground Fordow nuclear plant in central Qom province.

Eslami said the higher level of enrichment has several purposes, including the production of raw material for radiopharmaceuticals, adding that the interaction with the UN nuclear watchdog continues.

He hit out at the US for not complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal and walking out of it, asserting that the parliamentary law passed in early 2021 was meant to force them to lift sanctions.

His remarks came a day after Iran's UN mission dismissed reports about reaching an "interim deal" with the US to curb its nuclear enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief.

Tehran and Washington have since April 2021 been engaged in indirect talks to revive the 2015 deal. However, the process has been stalled in August last year.​​​​​​​

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