The International Atomic Energy Agency on Saturday confirmed that Iran had indeed upped its uranium enrichment to 60% purity, following through on its threat from late last week.
The move, which is the most serious and substantial breach of the nuclear deal Tehran reached with world powers in 2015, was announced after a mysterious sabotage operation severely damaged Iran’s Natanz facility last Sunday.
The Islamic Republic has blamed Israel for the attack, and on Saturday also revealed the identity of one of the alleged perpetrators, releasing his photo and name – Reza Karimi, and claiming he had fled the country just before the explosion at Natanz. Meanwhile, Tehran and the remaining parties to the mostly shredded Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of 2015, are continuing their deliberations in Vienna.
Iranian and American representatives have been conducting indirect talks in the Austrian capital, mediated by European diplomats, in an effort to revive the pact. United States President Joe Biden over the weekend called Iran’s latest enrichment enhancement “not helpful,” but said Washington was “nonetheless pleased that Iran has continued to agree to engage in … indirect discussions with us and with our partners on how we move forward … without us making concessions that we are just not willing to make.”