Iran is preparing to expand its nuclear program by enriching uranium—the key component in an atomic weapon—to levels needed to fuel a weapon, a move that Tehran says will “advance the goals of nuclear martyrs such as Mohsen Fakhrizadeh,” the nuclear scientist who was recently assassinated.
Iran’s parliament is considering legislation that would require the country to “produce at least 120 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium annually and store it inside the country,” according to reports in Tehran’s state-controlled press. Uranium enriched at this level can be processed to levels needed for a nuclear weapon and is banned under the 2015 nuclear accord.
The legislation would also mandate that Iran suspend many of its commitments under the nuclear deal, a decision that prompted outrage from European nations still party to the agreement. Iran has vowed to continue cheating on the deal until European nations offer relief from international economic sanctions. It is also likely Iran will pressure the incoming Biden administration to roll back tough American sanctions before it agrees to new diplomatic talks, a centerpiece of Biden’s foreign policy plans.
“If Iran is serious about preserving a space for diplomacy, it must not implement these steps,” France, Germany, and the United Kingdom—collectively known as the E3—said in a statement on Iran’s nuclear moves.