Iran has capacity to raise uranium enrichment beyond 20%

Vastavam web: Iran said on Saturday it was now capable of raising uranium enrichment past the 20% level and, while it had no immediate plans to do, so the clock was ticking towards the point where a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers could not be salvaged. “We have started lifting limitations on our Research and Development imposed by the deal…It will include development of more rapid and advanced centrifuges,” Iranian nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told a televised news conference.

“The European parties to the deal should know that there is not much time left, and if there is some action to be taken (to salvage the nuclear deal), it should be done quickly.” The 2015 pact curbed Iran’s disputed nuclear programme in exchange for relief from sanctions, but has unravelled since the United States pulled out of it last year and acted to strangle Iran’s oil trade to push it into wider security concessions.

Iran says its measures are reversible if the European side find a way to protect its vital oil exports from Washington’s sanctions. The deal capped the number of centrifuge enrichment machines installed in Iran at roughly 6,000, down from around 19,000 before 2015. It allows Iran to refine uranium only with first-generation IR-1 centrifuges and to use small numbers of more advanced centrifuges solely for research, but without stockpiling enriched uranium, for a period of 10 years.