Watchdog: Iran accelerating uranium enrichment to near weapons-level

Watchdog: Iran accelerating uranium enrichment to near weapons-level
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The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a new report that Iran has accelerated its uranium enrichment to near weapons-grade levels.

According to the IAEA report seen by Reuters, Iran has increased its uranium purity to 60 percent, compared with 20 percent in April. Weapons grade purity is around 90 percent.

Iran has maintained that its goals for uranium enrichment are peaceful and that it is seeking to develop reactor fuel. Western countries have cast doubt on those claims, arguing there is no credible civilian use for such development.

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The IAEA's report may endanger stalled negotiations in Vienna to have Iran return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the U.S. of being "stubborn" in the nuclear talks, The Associated Press reported in late July. Newly elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has signaled he would like to return to the Obama-era nuclear deal, though Khamenei has appeared less enthusiastic.

“Westerners do not help us, they hit wherever they can," Khamenei said in remarks on Iranian state television last month.