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Iran says it has manufactured 120 pounds of 20% enriched uranium this year

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Iran has produced 55 kilograms (121 lbs) of uranium enriched to 20 percent since the beginning of the year in defiance of the 2015 nuclear deal, a senior Iranian official said Wednesday.

The announcement came a day after the US and Iran began indirect talks aimed at finding a path for both countries to return to the deal.

The production rate is even faster than the goal of enriching 120 kg (260 lbs) of uranium a year, or 10 kg per month, stipulated by an Iranian law passed last year that aimed to pressure the US in response to crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

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Iran’s production rate is already “up to 40%” faster than that, Atomic Energy Organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told state TV, according to Reuters.

“In less than four months we have produced 55 kg of 20% enriched uranium … in around eight months we can reach 120 kg,” Kamalvandi said.

Uranium enriched to 20% is a short technical step away from weapons-grade 90% enrichment. In this photo released on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the organization, speaks with media while visiting Natanz enrichment facility, in central Iran. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

Iran has been steadily violating the restrictions of the deal, including on the amount of enriched uranium it can stockpile and the purity to which it can enrich it. Tehran’s moves have been calculated to put pressure on the other nations in the deal — Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain — to do more to........

© The Times of Israel

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