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Iran to increase the purity of enriched uranium to 60 percent

Iran to increase the purity of enriched uranium to 60 percent
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One of Iran's leading nuclear negotiators said on Tuesday the country would be increasing the purity of uranium it enriches to 60 percent following an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility on Sunday.

Abbas Araghchi made the remarks while in Vienna, Austria, for a second week of negotiations for a nuclear deal The Wall Street Journal reports. Araghchi did not say how long it would take for Iran to reach the higher level of purity, with the Journal noting that Iran has only enriched uranium up to 20 percent until now.

This increase in purity would bring Iran closer to reaching weapons-grade levels of uranium purity, which stands at around 90 percent.

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A spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, told Iran's state-run news agency IRNA that preparations for enhanced uranium purity would begin after Tuesday at the Natanz facility

The attack occurred Sunday, the same day U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: Ex-Pentagon chief defends Capitol attack response as GOP downplays violence | Austin, Biden confer with Israeli counterparts amid conflict with Hamas | Lawmakers press Pentagon officials on visas for Afghan partners Trump appointee endorses Christine Wormuth as Army secretary Austin repeats 'ironclad support' for Israel in conflict with Palestine MORE met with Israel's government.

Iran accused Israel of being behind the attack on Monday, calling it "nuclear terrorism." Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack, though multiple Israeli news outlets reported the attack was caused by Israeli cyberattack, possibly led by the country's intelligence agency Mossad.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE has previously said he would do anything stop Iran's nuclear program.

This announcement may further imperil hopes for a renewed nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. exited the prior Iran nuclear deal in 2018 under former President TrumpDonald TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE