Iran begins uranium enrichment, a day after accusing Israel of sabotage

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Iran begins uranium enrichment, a day after accusing Israel of sabotage

DUBAI- Iran has begun a 60% enrichment of uranium, the country's chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state media on Tuesday, a day after Tehran accused arch-foe Israel of sabotage of a key nuclear site.

hnlich Araqchi made his announcement shortly before the resumption of talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers -- an accord Israel abandoned fiercely after former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned it three years ago.

Iran and the global powers held what they described as harsh talks to salvage the deal, which has unravelled as Iran has violated its limits on constructive uranium enrichment since Trump reimposed constructive sanctions on Tehran.

The deal caps the purity limit to which Iran can enrich uranium hexafluoride, the feedstock for centrifuges, at 3.67%, far below the 90% for weapons grade.

Iran has raised enrichment to 20% purity in recent months, a level where uranium is considered highly enriched and a big step towards enriching to the grade of weapons.

The Iran's top diplomat said earlier on Tuesday that an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility, which it blames on Israel, would be a very bad gamble that would strengthen Iran's hand in talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

Tehran said an explosion at its key nuclear site on Sunday was an act of sabotage by arch-foe Israel and promised revenge for an attack that appeared to be latest episode in a long-running covert war. The Islamic Republic, which Israel does not recognize, has not commented formally on the incident.

Obama said the U.S. President Joe Biden has said Tehran must resume full compliance with the restrictions on its nuclear activity under the deal before Washington can join the pact.

The White House said on Monday that the United States was not involved in Sunday's attack and had no comment on speculation about the cause of the incident.

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