Iran calls allegation it has enriched uranium to 84% a ‘conspiracy’
Thu, 23 February 2023, 7:50 pm GMT-7
Iranian state television on Friday offered an extended defense against an accusation attributed to international inspectors that it enriched uranium to 84% purity, with an official calling it part of a “conspiracy” against Tehran amid tensions over its nuclear program.
The comments by Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran‘s civilian nuclear program, sought to portray any detection of uranium particles enriched to that level as a momentary side effect of trying to reach a finished product of 60% purity — which Tehran already has announced producing.
However, uranium at 84% is at nearly weapons-grade levels of 90% — meaning any stockpile of that material could be quickly used to produce an atomic bomb if Iran chooses. Tehran long has insisted its program is for peaceful purposes, though the International Atomic Energy Agency, Western intelligence agencies and nonproliferation experts say Iran pursued a secret nuclear weaponsprogram up until 2003.
The allegation IAEA inspectors found 84% enriched uranium threatens to further escalate tensions between Iran and the West. Already, Israel’s recently reinstalled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened military actions against Tehran.
“It doesn’t matter because the end product is what matters,” Kamalvandi said. “If we really want to enrich 20% more, we will announce it very easily. So it is clear that there is a conspiracy here.”