Iran’s top negotiator tells Press TV from Vienna that Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of a plan to start 60-percent uranium enrichment as of Wednesday, following an act of sabotage targeting the country's Natanz nuclear facility.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Tuesday that not only will Iran soon replace the centrifuges that were damaged in the act of sabotage at Natanz, but will also install an additional 1,000 centrifuges of a 50-percent higher enrichment capacity at the facility.
The enrichment level exceeds Iran's current top level of 20 percent.
Upon initiation, the measure would be part of the remedial measures Iran has been taking since May 2019 in return for the United States and others’ non-commitment to the nuclear deal between Tehran and world countries.
The US had left the nuclear deal that is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a year earlier and re-imposed the sanctions that the accord had lifted.
Iran’s counteraction fits well within the JCPOA’s Paragraph 36 that entitles it to the reprisal.
Araqchi is in the Austrian city for another round of talks aimed at finding a way for the United States to rejoin the 2015 nuclear agreement, which it abandoned in 2018 and re-imposed the sanctions on Iran that the JCPOA had lifted.
Tehran maintains that it will only reverse its remedial measures — the phased reduction of its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA — if the US removes all sanctions in one step and in a verifiable manner.
The Iranian official’s announcement of the sheer increase in Iran’s remedial measures came after power at the country’s Natanz Nuclear Facility was cut across the installation on Sunday.
Officials said there were no casualties or damage, nor were there any particular contamination or other problems after the incident.
The Islamic Republic, however, denounced the incident as "a bold act of nuclear terrorism on the Iranian soil," calling it a “work of the Zionist regime [of Israel], given what it (the regime) was repeatedly saying before and what is still being heard from various sources these days."
Araqchi’s remarks echoed earlier ones by Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatizadeh, who told Press TV that after the sabotage, Iran would bring a “remarkable increase” to its nuclear countermeasures.
“The Americans should avoid all sorts of misapprehension [here],” the Iranian official added. He was apparently indicating that the US should under no condition underplay Iran’s resolve to confront foreign bullying and pressure at it attends the nuclear talks.