Photo Credit: United States Department of State
L-R: US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, March 16, 2015.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization on Sunday highlighted his country had started taking initial measures to develop a 20%-enriched fuel for use in nuclear reactors, Tansim reported.

“In the nuclear science and industry, we have made so much progress that we can design modern fuel ourselves instead of reverse engineering and using others’ designs, which is a great achievement for the country,” Salehi told state television.

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“Tehran’s nuclear reactor has been working with old fuel but the modern fuel would boost the reactor’s efficiency,” Salehi explained, adding, “Taking initial measures to design the modern fuel enriched to 20% has begun.”

In June, Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it planned to increase its nuclear enrichment capacity within the limits set by the 2015 deal with the Obama administration and five other world powers. As part of the deal, Iran agreed to store away its excess centrifuges under the IAEA’s supervision, and only enrich uranium up to 3.67%.

Salehi told the Associated Press last year that Iran would mass-produce advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium above the allowable limits should the 2015 deal crashes.

“If we have to go back and withdraw from the nuclear deal, we certainly do not go back to where we were before,” Salehi said. “We will be standing on a much, much higher position.”

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