Iranian authorities have announced they will proceed with their nuclear programme, resuming work at the underground nuclear facility in Fordow.
"A few minutes ago, the process of producing 20% enriched uranium has started in Fordow enrichment complex", government spokesman Ali Rabeie told Mehr news agency.
Addressing the news, the International Atomic Energy Agency stated that inspectors are monitoring the activities at the compound and that Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi plans to submit a report to member states later in the day.
In the meantime, Brussels also warned that Tehran's move is a significant departure from the 2015 deal.
Earlier, in November, the Iranian parliament passed a bill dubbed "The Strategic Measure for the Removal of Sanctions", which stipulated intensifying activities in nuclear research in the wake of the assassination of Iranian top nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. It envisaged increasing the uranium enrichment level to 20 percent or more.
According to an International Atomic Energy Agency report issued in September 2020, the Islamic Republic's uranium stockpiles had reached 2,105 kg, or about 10 times the amount permitted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. However, this is still far below the roughly 7,000 kg of nuclear material that the country had before signing the accord in 2015, and the current enrichment level is still not sufficient to create a nuclear bomb.