Iran Starts Enriching Uranium to 60%, Its Highest Level Ever

April 16, 2021


Jon Gambrell


Associated Press

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Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, speaker of the Iranian Parliament, announced on April 16 that Iran had begun enriching uranium gas to 60 percent purity. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), specified that Iranian centrifuges were producing nine grams of uranium enriched to 60 percent per hour but that this amount would decrease to five grams per hour in the near future. Earlier in the week, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the Natanz nuclear facility and said that Iran’s planned 60-percent enrichment would take place at the aboveground portion of the site. Iranian officials and state media cast the move to 60-percent enrichment as a response to the previous week’s sabotage at Natanz, which damaged centrifuges there. Before then, Iran had been enriching uranium to 20 percent. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 international agreement placing limits on Iran’s nuclear program, prohibits Iran from enriching uranium to more than 3.67 percent. The European Union, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom expressed concern at the Iranian decision.