Tehran Accumulates More Than 120 kg of 20% Enriched Uranium
Tehran began enriching uranium beyond the limits set in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after the United States unilaterally quit the agreement in 2018 and reinstated harsh economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), claimed on Saturday that the Islamic Republic has accumulated over 120 kilogrammes of uranium enriched to 20%.
“We have passed 120 kilograms. We have more than that figure”, he said in an interview with state television.
Eslami added that Iranians “know well that [Western powers] were meant to give us [Iran] the enriched fuel at 20% to use in the Tehran reactor, but they haven’t done so”.
3 October 2021, 04:58 GMT
According to him, “If our colleagues do not do it, we would naturally have problems with the lack of fuel for the Tehran reactor”, which was supplied to Iran by the US in the 1960s to produce radioisotopes for use in medical treatments and agriculture.
Since then, the reactor has been modernised to run on 20% enriched uranium.
Eslami’s remarks come after he reiterated in an exclusive interview with Sputnik last week that Iran’s nuclear programme is “exclusively peaceful”, adding that Tehran will enrich uranium “in a way to avoid crossing the permissible level”.
The threshold value of uranium enrichment for military purposes, including the creation of nuclear weapons
, is 90 percent. In April, then-Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed Tehran was capable of bringing the level of uranium enrichment to 90 percent, but not for the purpose of obtaining a nuclear bomb.
This was followed by then-Iranian government spokesperson Ali Rabie pointing out in June that some 108 kilogrammes of the 20% enriched uranium “has been produced since the law was adopted about five months ago”.
In December 2020, the Iranian parliament passed a bill that obliged the government to start refining uranium to at least 20% fissile purity if US economic sanctions were not lifted.
The document stipulates that Iran must produce 120 kilogrammes of 20% enriched uranium a year, well above the 3.67% limit agreed under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
In May 2018, then-US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA, also re-imposing economic sanctions on Iran. Exactly a year later, the Islamic Republic announced it would start scrapping its JCPOA obligations, including those related to uranium enrichment.