Iran commits new breach of fraying nuclear deal, expands enrichment - IAEA

Iran commits new breach of fraying nuclear deal, expands enrichment - IAEA

Iran has committed another breach of its nuclear deal with major powers by enriching uranium with advanced centrifuges, a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog policing that deal said on Thursday, further fraying the landmark accord, Reuters reports.

Iran is breaching the restrictions of its deal with major powers step-by-step in response to U.S. sanctions imposed since Washington pulled out of the agreement in May of last year.

Washington has repeatedly said it is prepared to hold talks with Iran on a more far-reaching deal, arguing its crippling economic sanctions will force Iran to the negotiating table. Tehran, however, has ruled out talks until those sanctions are lifted, while continuing its incremental nuclear expansion.

“They are busy at the (Natanz enrichment) facility,” one diplomat said in response to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) report to member states on Thursday.

The deal only lets Iran accumulate enriched uranium with just over 5,000 of its first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz. It lets Iran use small numbers of more advanced models for research, without producing enriched uranium.

The deal also caps the amount of enriched uranium Iran can produce and the purity to which it can enrich it, both of which Tehran has already breached, but only incrementally rather than by ramping up the level and amount as quickly as it can.

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