Iran announced its intent “to start 60 per cent uranium enrichment” at Natanz. A senior Iranian diplomat declared that “not only will Iran soon replace the centrifuges that were damaged in the [11 April] act of sabotage at Natanz, but will also install an additional 1,000 centrifuges of a 50-per cent higher enrichment capacity at the facility”. Iran’s IAEA envoy indicated that “enriching UF6 up to 60 per cent will be done in two cascades of IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges in Natanz. Modification of the process just started and we expect to accumulate the product next week”. “This will improve significantly both the quality and quantity of radiopharmaceutical products”, he added. The following day, the IAEA confirmed that “Iran had almost completed preparations to start producing UF6 enriched up to 60 per cent U-235”. A White House spokesperson noted that “we are certainly concerned about these provocative announcements. But our goal remains seeing through a diplomatic process… in Vienna”. France, Germany and the UK jointly expressed “grave concern” over Iran’s decision, maintaining that “the production of highly enriched uranium constitutes an important step in the production of a nuclear weapon. Iran has no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level”. “In light of recent developments, we reject all escalatory measures by any actor and call upon Iran not to further complicate the diplomatic process”, the E3 added.
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