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Iran Has Defiant Response to Attack on Nuclear Site

Tehran will significantly increase its uranium enrichment
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2021 10:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – After an attack on one of its nuclear facilities, Iran is more than doubling down. A Tehran official announced Tuesday that the nation will begin enriching uranium to 60%—a significant increase from its earlier mark of 20% and much closer to the 90% required for weapons-grade material, reports the Jerusalem Post. The Israeli newspaper calls it a "potentially unprecedented escalation." It would be Iran's highest figure yet and another challenge in the push to resurrect the Iranian nuclear deal, notes the Washington Post. Tehran blames Israel for the weekend attack, which caused a fire at the Natanz plant and damaged centrifuges there. Israel has not confirmed whether it was behind the incident.

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Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Aragchi, said Tuesday that the country has informed the International Atomic Energy Commission of its new enrichment goal, though the agency says it had not formally received word as of Tuesday afternoon, per the AP. Under the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord, Tehran was supposed to remain below the 5% enrichment mark, notes NBC News. Former President Trump withdrew from the pact in 2018, though President Biden has said he is open to reviving it. Negotiations are underway toward that end. (Read more Iranian nuclear program stories.)

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