Iran to begin 60% uranium enrichment after nuclear site incident

Supporters of an Iranian opposition group wave flags outside hotel where talks are taking place in Vienna

Israel, which hasn't commented on the attack, is suspected of carrying out the weekend's assault at the nuclear facility, part of an escalating shadow war between the two countries.

On Friday, the United Nations nuclear watchdog noted a new breach by Iran of the nuclear deal with world powers at the same time talks were going on to renew the agreement, according to a report shown to Reuters.

The United States called talks in Vienna with Iran "indirect".

According to Pompeo, the Biden administration believes that if the USA does not strike a nuclear deal, it will incite war; even though the Trump administration proved this theory wrong. Former US President Donald Trump abandoned the agreement in 2018 and Iran has increasingly breached it since then.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday its decision to boost uranium enrichment to 60 percent was a response to Israel's "terrorism", days after an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility.

The accord, agreed when Biden was vice president to Barack Obama, promised Tehran relief from punishing sanctions in return for agreeing to limits on its nuclear programme. While officials described some progress, there remains a large gap over who should take the first step. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has maintained there will be no sanctions relief until Iran complies with the deal again, though the State Department said last week that the USA is willing to lift sanctions "inconsistent" with the accord.

Natanz has been at the heart of those restrictions.

Zarif also assured that Iran would be upgrading the Natanz facility with even more advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges.

Biden's Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was in Israel on Sunday, prompting speculation that Israel gave the US advanced notice or was somehow involved.

Donald Trump holds up presidential memorandum pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear deal
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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday the step "calls into question Iran's seriousness with regard to the nuclear talks and underscores the imperative of returning to mutual compliance" with the 2015 nuclear accord.

So far, there has been no change in plans for Wednesday's meetings.

Kochavi said the Israeli army's activities in the Middle East "are not hidden from the eyes of the enemy, that they are watching us, they see our capabilities".

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Natanz incident was "not a positive contribution" to the diplomatic process underway in Vienna, where the USA and Iran are holding indirect talks on a possible return to the 2015 nuclear deal from which former president Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

On Monday, the European Union added eight Iranian security officials, including the head of the Revolutionary Guards, and three prisons to a sanctions blacklist consisting of asset freezes and visa bans over a 2019 protest crackdown. Tehran has vowed revenge and declared that the Islamic Republic's nuclear program will not suffer from this act of sabotage.

"Israel played a very bad gamble if it thought that the attack will weaken Iran's hand in the nuclear talks", Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart in Tehran. But a good number are also related to other issues - from alleged terrorist activities, to human rights violations, to Iran's support for militias in neighbouring countries, and Iran's development and testing of ballistic missiles.

The officer also warned that even if Israel informed the U.S. ahead of time about its plans to sabotage Natanz, the timing was "not conducive to building trust" with the Biden administration, trust which he said is "essential to coordinating positions and safeguarding Israel's interests". "We engaged diplomatic across a broad spectrum and we brought these Gulf States together with the Israeli's for a security arrangement that benefits Americans all across the country".

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Israel had informed the United States that it was responsible for an attack against the Iranian vessel, the MV Saviz.

But Netanyahu repeatedly warned of the threat from the "fanatical regime in Iran" and said Israel will "continue to defend itself against Iran's aggression and terrorism" - while Austin made no mention of Iran in his brief remarks.

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