VIENNA: Iran is enriching uranium to 4.5% fissile purity, above the 3.67% limit set by its deal with major powers, the UN nuclear watchdog policing the deal told member states in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, diplomats familiar with the figures said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency had previously only said Iran was over the 3.67% limit. It also said on Wednesday that Iran’s stock of enriched uranium was now 213.5 kg, over the deal’s 202.8 kg limit, and more than the 205 kg verified on July 1.
Both figures were verified on Tuesday, the three diplomats said.
Earlier, Iran welcomed France’s efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal, as French President Emmanuel Macron’s top diplomatic adviser visited Tehran for talks to help ease the crisis.
Iran threatened on Monday to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up enrichment of uranium to 20% purity in a move away from the nuclear accord.
Tehran has been pushing the European signatories to the accord to protect Iran from US sanctions, which Washington re-imposed after leaving the pact last year.
Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported that Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi “welcomed France’s role in reducing tension and implementing the accord.”
“The French are part of efforts … to keep the nuclear deal alive,” Mousavi was quoted as saying during the visit by Emmanuel Bonne, Macron’s top diplomatic adviser.