Iran able to enrich uranium up to 60%, says atomic energy agency spokesman

Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium up to 60%, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Saturday. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 November 2019

Iran able to enrich uranium up to 60%, says atomic energy agency spokesman

  • Since May, Iran has begun to exceed limits on its nuclear capacity set by the pact in retaliation for US pressure on Tehran to negotiate restrictions on its ballistic missile program
  • Iran's highest political authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last month that the country had never pursued the building or use of nuclear weapons

TEHRAN:  Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium up to 60 percent, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Saturday, far more than is required for most civilian uses but short of the 90 percent needed to make nuclear bomb fuel.
"The organization has the possibility to produce 5 percent, 20 percent and 60 percent, and has this capacity," AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said during a news conference at the underground Fordow nuclear plant, the official IRIB news agency reported.
"At the moment, the need is for 5 percent," he added.
Iran's highest political authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last month that the country had never pursued the building or use of nuclear weapons, which its religion forbids.
Iran said on Thursday it had resumed uranium enrichment at Fordow, stepping further away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers after the United States pulled out of it.
The pact bans production of nuclear material at Fordow, a highly sensitive site that Iran hid from UN non-proliferation inspectors until its exposure in 2009.
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit Fordow on Sunday, Kamalvandi said.
Since May, Iran has begun to exceed limits on its nuclear capacity set by the pact in retaliation for US pressure on Tehran to negotiate restrictions on its ballistic missile program and support for proxy forces around the Middle East.
Iran says its measures are reversible if European signatories to the accord manage to restore its access to foreign trade promised under the nuclear deal but blocked by the reimposition of US sanctions.


Lebanese restaurant attracts star support following Beirut blasts

Updated 41 min 53 sec ago

Lebanese restaurant attracts star support following Beirut blasts

  • Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe donated $5,000 to the fund, set up by a group of Beirut-based foreign correspondents
  • Operating on a plat-du-jour formula, each day of the week would serve a homemade Lebanese specialty

LONDON: Lebanese restaurant Le Chef found an unlikely high-profile supporter after a GoFundMe page was set up to save the diner from ruin following the Beirut blasts on August 4.

Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe donated $5,000 to the fund, set up by a group of Beirut-based foreign correspondents.

When Richard Hall, one of the organizers and the former-Beirut correspondent of UK daily The Independent, highlighted the generous donation, Crowe tweeted: “On behalf of Anthony Bourdain. I thought that he would have probably done so if he was still around. I wish you and LeChef the best and hope things can be put back together soon.” Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain took his life two years ago.

Tucked away in the middle of the Gemmayze district, Le Chef – commonly seen as one of Beirut’s must-try hole-in-the-wall diners for tourists – was badly damaged in the recent blast.

The tiny diner with its neon-red logo and checkered tables was second home to many of the street’s residents and the country’s foreign correspondents. It featured in Bourdain’s report from Beirut during his travel show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations in 2006.

“And yet I'd already fallen in love with Beirut. We all had — everyone on my crew. As soon as we'd landed, headed into town, there was a reaction I can only describe as pheromonic: The place just smelled good. Like a place we were going to love,” Bourdain’s field notes during his time on CNN's Parts Unknown said.

Operating on a plat-du-jour formula, each day of the week would serve a homemade Lebanese specialty – with Thursday’s mloukhiyye and rice a favorite among many journalists, according to Arab News’ correspondent Leila Hatoum.

“When I worked as a reporter based in Gemmayze between 2002 and 2006, Le Chef was the restaurant that provided home-cooked style meals at such affordable prices and in generous quantities…each dish literally could feed two persons,” Hatoum said.

“It was the meeting point for every reporter in the area, be it foreign or local. I would say Le Chef was the ‘it’ place for affordable but great home-cooked food.”

Other dishes include rice and lamb (kharouf mehshi) on Mondays, spiced Lebanese couscous with chicken (moughrabiyye) on Tuesdays, kibbeh bil sayniyye on Wednesdays, rice and fish (sayyidiye) on Fridays and roast lamb with potatoes on Saturdays.

“Le Chef was different, everything they served was as though my mom cooked it,” Netherlands-based designer Rawad Baaklini told Arab News.

“And it was so cheap! Their dishes were big compared to the price they charged. They used to deliver, so for me ordering from them was like eating at home,” Baaklini said, recalling his time working at a studio based in the area.

“My favorite dish was the kibbeh bel sayniyye … It was magical, I don’t know how they made it, but it was every time great.”