IAEA confirms Iran has started enriching uranium to 60% purity

(VOVWORLD) -Iran has started the process of enriching uranium to 60% fissile purity at an above-ground nuclear plant at Natanz, the UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday, confirming earlier statements by Iranian officials.

The move has complicated talks aimed at reviving Iran's nuclear deal with major powers as it is a big step towards producing weapons-grade uranium.

“The Agency today verified that Iran had begun the production of UF6 enriched up to 60% at the (above-ground) Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

UF6 is uranium hexafluoride, the form in which uranium is fed into centrifuges IR-4 and IR-6 for enrichment.

Earlier, Iran informed the IAEA of its intention to start enriching uranium at 60% purity.

The decision to increase uranium enrichment and install modern centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility comes as Tehran and a group of world powers are looking to save the 2015 nuclear deal in danger of a possible breakdown.