The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami (right)and International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi attend the opening of the IAEA General Conference at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria, September 26, 2022.

Iran Denies Speeding Up Uranium Enrichment

Wednesday, 12/27/2023

Iranian authorities have rejected the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) claims it has stepped up uranium enrichment, calling it "a media frenzy".

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, described the report as "political" and a ploy by the US and Israel to divert public attention from the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The IAEA report, published by Reuters on Tuesday, indicates that Iran has resumed its uranium enrichment program after a short hiatus since mid-2023. It claims Iran currently enriches uranium up to 60% at its Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) in the Natanz complex and its Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) in a mountainous area.

Eslami insisted that the Islamic Republic was simply following its "current activities" as defined by international laws.

The White House called the report "very concerning". In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the National Security Council said: "Iran’s nuclear escalation is all the more concerning at a time when Iran-backed proxies continue their dangerous and destabilizing activities in the region, including the recent deadly drone attack and other attempted attacks in Iraq and Syria and the Houthi attacks against commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea."

The tension between Tehran and Washington has escalated since Israeli forces allegedly killed a top IRGC commander in Syria this week with Iran-backed proxy groups stepping up attacks on US forces in the region.

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