by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – In a joint statement Tuesday, the UK, France, and Germany (the E3) attested there is “no credible civilian justification” for Iran’s announcement that it is enriching uranium to 60% purity not only at its Natanz nuclear site but now, for the first time, at its underground Fordow facility as well, Algemeiner reports.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran publicly announced its uranium enrichment plans through Iranian state media on Tuesday; the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also on Tuesday confirmed that Iran has indeed begun enriching to 60% at Fordow, Algemeiner said.
Uranium enriched to 3-5% is a normal level for civilian nuclear reactors, but 60% pure uranium is considered to be “highly enriched.” Approximately 90% purity is required to develop a nuclear weapon.
Noting that Iran’s latest actions go against the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran deal that world powers have been seeking to revive, the E3 said: “By increasing its production capabilities at Fordow and Natanz, well beyond Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) limits, and by accelerating its production of enriched uranium, Iran has taken further significant steps in hollowing out the JCPOA. This step, which carries significant proliferation-related risks, has no credible civilian justification.”
Even as the US under President Joe Biden has led efforts to revive the JCPOA after former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the treaty in 2018, John Kirby, the National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, said in a press statement Tuesday that “all options” remain available to the United States in responding to Iran’s nuclear program.