Iran has taken steps to enrich uranium metal to a 20 percent purity and manufacture nuclear reactor fuel, the United Nation’s top nuclear watchdog announced Tuesday.
With the use of “indigenously-produced uranium” Iran will reportedly use fuel to supply the Tehran Research Reactor, but the U.S. and allied nations have called the move “worrying.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said it was “another unfortunate step backwards” as the U.S. has engaged in indirect talks on nuclear nonproliferation with Iran since April.
Price told reporters Tuesday that the move will not give Iran any leverage as the U.S. seeks to re-establish a nuclear agreement with the Middle Eastern nation, and said the “window for diplomacy remains open.”
Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — which Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of in 2018 — Iran is not permitted to enrich uranium past a 3.67 percent purity threshold, which is all that is needed to power a commercial-grade power plant, according to the Arms Control Association.