Iran to Introduce 1,000 More Centrifuges at Natanz Nuclear Site, Raises Uranium Enrichment to 60%
Arty Katkov. Sputnik International
13:20 GMT 13.04.2021(updated 14:10 GMT 13.04.2021)
The news comes as Tehran's intends to increase its nuclear activity in the wake of a reported sabotage attack on its Natanz nuclear plant.
Iran will introduce 1,000 more centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear site, Chief Iranian Nuclear Negotiator Abbas Araghchi has said.
Iran also started raising uranium enrichment to 60 percent on Tuesday, the IRNA news agency reported, citing Iran's deputy foreign minister, who also said Tehran had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the move, Press TV said.
The Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) reported that the Natanz facility had suffered an incident involving its electricity distribution network last Sunday. AEOI Chief Ali Akbar Salehi described the incident as "nuclear terrorism." The Iranian authorities later said all damaged centrifuges will be replaced with better ones.
Israel's Kan channel reported, citing intelligence sources, that Natanz was targeted by a cyberattack involving Israel's foreign intelligence service Mossad.
It happened during the Vienna talks dedicated to returning the US, which withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to the pact.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif recently vowed revenge on Israel but noted that the act of "nuclear terrorism and a war crime," as he described the incident, would not prompt Tehran to pull out of the talks.
"The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions.â€¦ We will not fall into their trapâ€¦ We will not allow this act of sabotage to affect the nuclear talks.â€¦ But we will take our revenge against the Zionists," Zarif was quoted as saying by Iranian media.
Iran has been stepping up its uranium enrichment beyond the limits set as part of the 2015 JCPOA, which were set after the Trump administration unilaterally pulled the US out of the pact and re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic in 2018. Iran said it was ready to recommit to the deal if Washington scrapped the restrictions but refused to renegotiate its terms.
The JCPOA was signed by Iran with China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, US, and EU. It required Tehran to curb its nuclear programme and downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief.
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