Iran announces capability and intention to increase uranium enrichment; Iran confirms production of Oxygen 18; AEOI spokesman: the country is ready to increase its uranium enrichment capacity to 190,000 SWU’s.
Iran announced it is prepared to boost its uranium enrichment.
Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi, made the announcement on Sunday, confirming the Islamic Republic is capable of uranium enrichment to 190,000 SWU’s, as well as boasting on its “major leap” in the mass production of Oxygen 18. The spokesman was quoted stating, “Based on a decree by Iran’s Supreme Leader and the emphasis put on this issue by AEOI head, the country is ready to increase its uranium enrichment capacity to 190,000 separative work units (SWU’s).”
Iran claims it is capable of enriching uranium at 20% purity. Under the nuclear deal from 2015, Iran was permitted to enrich uranium no more than 3.67%.
Head of the AEOI, Ali Akbar Salehi, announced the production of Oxygen 18 at 97% purity from its Khandab Research Reactor last week. He reported then, “[our] researchers at Khandab are able to produce Oxygen 18 at a purity of 97% with a capacity of about 60 kilograms per year. From now on, Iran is not only self-sufficient in the PET (positron emission tomograph) drug production, but also can export Oxygen-18.”
Iran is now one of a handful of countries capable of producing Oxygen 18, a major development in Iran’s nuclear chemistry, Salehi boasting “We have been able to break this monopoly and achieve self-sufficiency.” Iran had been previously purchasing the isotope of oxygen at over $30,000 a kilogram.
The announcement comes days ahead of the US-sponsored Warsaw Summit to be attended by over 70 countries on Wednesday. The conference will be centered on Iran and its missile and nuclear programs.
Iran condemned the United States’ efforts, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif referring to the conference as a “desperate anti-Iran circus.”