Photo Credit: Nanking 2012
Iran's Arak Heavy Water facility, October 14, 2012.

“The international community must act now to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated, after a new United Nations report showed that Iran has taken further steps toward the development of nuclear weapons.

Reuters reported Tuesday that a new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report warns that “on 14 August, the Agency verified … that Iran had used 257 g of uranium enriched up to 20% U-235 in the form of UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride) to produce 200 g of uranium metal-enriched up to 20% U-235.”

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This can be used to make the core of a nuclear bomb.

“Iran continues on its path to a nuclear weapon, even as the regime installs an extreme government that includes ministers that are themselves personally sanctioned for nuclear proliferation,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated Tuesday, calling on the international community to “act now.”

Joshua Zarka, Deputy Director-General for Strategic Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, noted that producing uranium metal-enriched to 20% U-235 “cannot be justified as anything but a significant step towards a nuclear bomb.”

“The Iranian weaponization program is pushing ahead rapidly,” he warned. “The world cannot afford further Iranian stalling, the time for international action is now!”

Under its 2015 nuclear deal, Iran is only permitted to enrich uranium up to 3.67% purity.

Iran claims its nuclear program is for civilian uses only. 20% enriched U-235 can be used as advanced power reactor fuels, although it is usually enriched to 3-5%. 20% or more and is used in research reactors.

Weapons-grade U-235 is 85% enriched, though theoretically, for a crude and inefficient weapon, 20% enrichment is sufficient, and is called weapon-usable.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.