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Iran ramps up production of highly enriched uranium, nearing weapons' grade levels


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Fox News

Iran has boosted its production of highly enriched uranium after a slowdown earlier this year, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog said in a report on Tuesday, according to Reuters and the Associated Press.

 

Iran is currently enriching uranium up to 60%, which is reaching the 90% needed for weapons, at its Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) in the Natanz complex and at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP).

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in the report that Iran had "increased its production of highly enriched uranium, reversing a previous output reduction from mid-2023."

 

A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital they are "greatly concerned" by the report, and that Iran has "no credible civilian justification for enrichment up to 60%."

 

"Iran’s nuclear escalation is all the more concerning at a time when Iran as well as Iran-backed militant groups and Iran’s proxies continue their dangerous and destabilizing activities in the region," the State Department spokesperson said. "This includes the latest drone attack against U.S. personnel in Iraq, Houthi attacks against commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea as well as Iran’s latest armed-drone attack against a chemical tanker in the Indian ocean."

The State Department said Iran must fully cooperate with the IAEA so its nuclear activities can be verified and make sure there is no diversion or misuse of nuclear material.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog said its inspectors had verified the increased rate of production since the end of November at the facilities to about 9 kilograms per month, up from 3 kilograms per month since June and representing a return to earlier levels of production, according to the Associated Press. 

Enriching uranium means increasing the percentage of uranium-235, the isotope of uranium that can be used in nuclear fission.:snip:

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