IRAN has announced its plans to enrich its uranium deposits by 20%, in serious breach of a 2015 international deal.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – the UN’s nuclear watchdog – stated it has received a letter from Iran saying the country will be enriching its uranium to 20% purity. Although this still falls far below the 90% required to build a nuclear weapon, it is in breach of the 5% cap agreed during a 2015 international deal.
Iran began to breach the deal when President Donald Trump pulled the US from the deal and slapped severe sanctions upon the country. However, an international group including the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China have hopes that the deal can be revived.
The Iranian government did not tell the IAEA when they would begin the enrichment process, but a new law will now ban UN inspectors from visiting Iran’s nuclear facilities in Natanz and Fordow.
Experts warn that increasing enrichment could speed up the “break out time” to produce a nuclear weapon. The country maintains that its nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes.
Hostilities between the US and Iran have caused many analysts to fear for the future stability of one of the world’s most volatile regions.
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