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Iran continues to enrich uranium beyond permissible levels, IAEA says

Israeli PM says if no deal is reached, “something else” must be done to stop Tehran

A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran's National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, April 10, 2021. (Photo: Iranian Presidency Office/WANA/Handout via REUTERS)

Iran has continued to increase its uranium enrichment, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a confidential report on Saturday.

According to the watchdog agency, Iran has installed advanced machinery at its underground Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, which allows the Islamic regime to shift quickly and easily into enriching uranium at higher purity levels. 

The IAEA report claimed to have verified on July 9 that Iran was using the upgrade to enrich a uranium-compound isotope from 5% to 20%. 

The move is just the latest of many Iranian breaches of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, going well beyond the restrictions of the nuclear deal. 

The Iran deal capped the permissible uranium-enrichment level at 3.67% fissile purity, but Iran today is enriching uranium to 60% in some of its underground facilities. Before the 2015 deal, Iran was enriching uranium up to 20%. 

Uranium needs roughly 90% enrichment to reach weapons-grade levels. 

In 2018, then-U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran deal and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian regime.

Now Israel has largely given up on trying to damage Iran’s uranium-enrichment capabilities, Israel’s Channel 12 News reported Saturday.

“Iran already has enough enriched uranium [for one or more bombs],” the network said, without naming a source for the claim.

Channel 12 also noted that Israel has been focusing on other aspects related to Iran’s nuclear program, such as assassinating nuclear scientists, striking missile-development bases and destroying Iran’s capacity to mount future nuclear bombs onto missiles.  

It is widely believed that Israel has been behind acts of sabotage against Iran’s nuclear program – including cyberattacks, strikes and assassinations of scientists, engineers and other Iranian officials employed in the facilitation of Iran’s nuclear programs.  

Recently, the Iranian state-owned Khouzestan Steel Company in Ahvaz, one of Iran’s major steel producers, had to halt production because of a cyberattack that triggered a major fire inside the company. The cyberattack also hit Iran’s two other major steel producers and was reportedly one of the largest cyberattacks on the country’s industrial sector in recent times.  

According to The Times of Israel, Israeli military correspondents hinted that Israel was directly responsible for the assault in retaliation for a suspected Iranian cyberattack in June which caused rocket sirens to be heard in Jerusalem and Eilat.

When Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid recently met with French President Emmanuel Macron, he told Israeli reporters that a “credible military threat” is needed to deter Iran.

“Our claim is that if Iran won’t agree to this deal, they won’t agree to anything without a credible military threat,” Lapid said.

The Israeli prime minister claimed there is a growing international expectation that the Iran deal will not be revived.  

“The feeling is that there won’t be a deal, and if there is no deal, then there needs to be something else,” Lapid said. 

That “something else” is the credible military threat that Iran’s nuclear facilities and military assets will be attacked.  

“It’s part of the conversation, with both the E-3 countries [France, Germany and the United Kingdom], and with the Americans,” Lapid said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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