Iran has made 55 kg of uranium enriched to up to 20%, the point at which it is highly enriched, Iranian authorities said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The disclosure comes a day after Tehran and Washington held what they described as “constructive” indirect talks in Vienna on Tuesday aimed at finding ways to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
The move is in accordance with a law which required Iran to start enriching to 20% and stipulated that at least 120 kg (265 pounds) of uranium refined to that level be made each year, which amounts to 10 kg a month.
Iran’s production rate is already “up to 40%” faster than that, Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
“In less than four months we have produced 55 kg of 20% enriched uranium ... in around eight months we can reach 120 kg,” he added.
Uranium is considered highly enriched as of 20%. Enriching to 20% is a big step towards enriching to weapons-grade.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a new report last week that Iran has begun enriching uranium with a fourth cascade, or cluster, of advanced IR-2m machines at its underground Natanz plant, in yet another breach of the 2015 deal.
Iran’s breaches of the deal are part of a campaign seeking to pressure US President Joe Biden to return to the agreement.
Biden has expressed a desire to return to the deal but has stressed that Iran must resume compliance with it before any negotiations on a US return to the agreement.
The US recently accepted Europe's offer to mediate conversations with Iran regarding the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran, however, rejected the proposal, claiming that the “time was not right” to hold such talks.