Iran will begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, higher than ever before though still short of weapons grade.
The announcement follows and an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility than Iran blames on Israel.
Israel, in turn, could respond with further action. The sabotage, as well as Iran’s enrichment response, may endanger U.S. negotiations to re-enter the Iran nuclear agreement.
Iran says it intends to install an additional 1,000 centrifuges to increase the Natanz plant capacity by 50 percent.
“We believe that this round of negotiations is the time for the U.S. to present a list. I hope that I can go back to Tehran with the list of sanctions that will be lifted,” nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi stated after the attack. “Otherwise, I don’t believe we can continue like this. Otherwise, I believe this would be a waste of time.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had already threatened to reach 60% enrichment back in February. “We are determined to develop our nuclear capabilities in line with the needs of the country,” Khamenei said at that time. “For this reason, Iran’s enrichment will not be limited to 20%, and we will take whatever action is necessary for the country.”