Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Iran told a U.N. watchdog it may enrich uranium levels to 20%, surpassing levels set by the 2015 nuclear deal, the Iranian Student News Agency reported Saturday.
Ali-Akbar Salehi, the head of Atomic Energy Organization for Iran, told the International Atomic Energy Agency in a letter that Iran aims to start enriching uranium levels to 20% pending presidential orders.
"Based on a new law passed by the parliament, we are intending to start production of 20% fuel," Salehi said. "The AEOI will await necessary orders by President Hassan Rouhani to take due measure."
Salehi added that the move will require the AEOI to change its uranium gas cylinders.
Iran passed the new law last month enabling the increase in enrichment levels and halting voluntary U.N. nuclear inspections if the United States, which withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018, doesn't provide sanctions relief within months of it taking effect, Bloomberg reported.
According to NPR, the move was part of larger legislation in response to the November assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Iranian leaders have blamed Israel for the slaying, but Israel has not declared responsibility.