Home World Iran reportedly enriching uranium at 60% purity at underground Fordow facility

Iran reportedly enriching uranium at 60% purity at underground Fordow facility


Iran has reportedly reached 60% enrichment of uranium at its Fordow enrichment plant, marking a dangerous step closer to the country’s goal of obtaining nuclear weapons. 

Iran has begun to enrich uranium to higher levels of purity at the underground Fordow site, the country’s nuclear chief said Tuesday. 

“We had said that Iran will seriously react to any resolution and political pressure … that is why Iran has started enriching uranium to 60% purity from Monday at the Fordow site,” said Mohammad Eslami, according to Iranian media.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran informed the agency that it had started to enrich uranium at the higher levels

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Weapons require 90% purity, but the level Iran has reached far exceeds its 20% produced prior to the 2015 nuclear deal, meaning the country far exceeded the 3.67% cap the deal had mandated. 

Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant just outside Bushehr, Iran, Jan. 13, 2015. The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog said, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, Iran continues to produce more uranium metal, which can be used in the production of a nuclear bomb, in a move that further complicates the possibility of reviving a landmark 2015 deal with world powers on its nuclear program. 

Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant just outside Bushehr, Iran, Jan. 13, 2015. The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog said, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, Iran continues to produce more uranium metal, which can be used in the production of a nuclear bomb, in a move that further complicates the possibility of reviving a landmark 2015 deal with world powers on its nuclear program. 
(AP Photo/Iranian Presidency Office, Mohammad Berno, File)

Iran has done so at other sites, but the Fordow site is an underground facility where Iran will likely test its most sensitive nuclear work, Behnam Ben Taleblu, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Fox New Digital. 

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Ben Taleblu noted that Iran has enriched uranium to 60% at other sites since April 2021, but the Fordrow development represents a more troubling step in Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. 

This file photo by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran shows centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran Nov. 5, 2019. Negotiations to bring the United States back into a landmark nuclear deal with Iran are set to resume Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Vienna amid signs of progress, but also under the shadow of an attack this week on Iran's main nuclear facility. 

This file photo by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran shows centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran Nov. 5, 2019. Negotiations to bring the United States back into a landmark nuclear deal with Iran are set to resume Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Vienna amid signs of progress, but also under the shadow of an attack this week on Iran’s main nuclear facility. 
(Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP, File)

“More advanced centrifuges and a greater purity of enriched uranium at Fordow is Iran’s way of signaling not just its comfortability, but preference for continued escalation,” Ben Taleblu said. “This is not just about trying to win sanctions relief. It’s about practicing for breakout and getting Tehran closer to the bomb through redundancy.”

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday while in Doha, Qatar that he could not confirm reports that Iran had enriched uranium – a key component of nuclear weapons material – to 60% purity. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about the launch initiative to support Afghan women during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about the launch initiative to support Afghan women during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. 
(David Dee Delgado/Pool Photo via AP)

“As to Iran, I can’t confirm any, any reports about their, their activities,” Blinken told reporters. “It’s something that we’re looking at very carefully and very closely, and what we’ve seen and we’ve spoken up many, many times before is that while we continue to believe that the best way to resolve the challenges posed by Iran’s nuclear program, are through diplomacy.”

Blinken again mentioned Iran’s efforts to add “extraneous issues” to discussions to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which have derailed the talks

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“We continue to exert pressure on Iran for steps that it’s taking to strengthen its nuclear program in contravention of the JCPOA itself, as well,” Blinken added. 

Reuters contributed to this report. 



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