Iran said Tuesday that it would begin enriching uranium to a level of 60 percent purity, three times the current level and much closer to that needed to make a bomb, though American officials doubt the country has the ability to produce a weapon in the near future.
Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, did not give a reason for the shift, but it appeared to be retaliation for an Israeli attack on Iran’s primary nuclear fuel production plant as well as a move to strengthen Iran’s hand in nuclear talks in Vienna.
The Israeli attack on Sunday diminishes Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium to 60 percent but it is unclear for how long.
Mr. Araghchi said that Iran had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its decision in a letter on Tuesday.
maritime shadow war with Israel. The attack was another sign of increased tensions in the region but was reported to have caused little to no damage.
The uranium enrichment announcement came as American intelligence agencies said that while Iran had gradually resumed production of nuclear material since President Donald J. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord, there was no evidence it had resumed the work needed to fashion that material into a nuclear weapon.