April 15, 2021 – 08:18
An act of sabotage at Iran’s main nuclear plant, Natanz, may have complicated talks in Vienna, Austria, aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Iran has blamed Israel for the attack on the plant and just two days after the incident announced it would begin enriching uranium with 60 percent purity. This is the highest level so far.
On April 14, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said the decision came in response to an attack on a secret underground facility.
“The answer to your evil is: enriching uranium to 60 percent,” Rohani said.
“What we are doing is legal, while what you are doing is nuclear terrorism,” he said.
Since the Natanz incident, Iran has said it is an act of “nuclear terrorism,” stressing that the attack was intended to prevent indirect negotiations between Washington and Tehran.
Negotiations between the countries that have remained parties to the agreement and Tehran are taking place in Vienna. The United States is not directly participating in the talks, but a US delegation is staying at a location near the Hotel where the talks are being held. The negotiations are aimed at turning Washington into an agreement and forcing Tehran to fully implement it.
Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Kazem Gharibabadi, said on April 14 that 60 percent uranium enrichment would begin next week. According to the agreement reached in 2015, between the six world powers and Iran, it was envisaged that Tehran would be allowed to enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent.
To produce a nuclear bomb, uranium enrichment must be 90 percent.
In January, the Iranian parliament passed a law urging the government to increase uranium enrichment levels. The law was passed after the assassination in Tehran of senior Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Suspicions of his murder were directed at Israel. The 2015 nuclear deal has long been opposed by Israel.
“We must not go back to the dangerous nuclear deal with Iran, because a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to the state of Israel and a great threat to the security of the whole world,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier. ./REL
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