(Bloomberg) — Iran obtained its first quantity of uranium enriched close to levels needed to make a weapon, adding to obstacles facing diplomats as they try to revive the 2015 nuclear pact that curbed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
The unspecified amount of 60%-enriched uranium was produced at 12:40 a.m. local time on Friday, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported, citing parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
The move is Iran’s response to an attack on Sunday on its biggest enrichment facility at Natanz that it blamed on Israel, the latest in a series of claims by the regional foes that’s roiling the Persian Gulf. It moves Tehran’s enrichment significantly closer to the 90% concentration of uranium-235 isotopes used in nuclear weapons.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and that the material will be used for medical treatments.
Diplomats from Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K., France and Germany gather in Vienna again on Friday as they attempt to orchestrate the lifting of U.S. sanctions and steps Iran can take to wind back its nuclear activities.
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