Blinken Calls Iran’s Increase in Uranium Enrichment ‘Provocative’

Tehran announced the measure in response to an apparent Israeli attack on Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, which Blinken has not condemned

Speaking from NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Iran’s decision to begin enriching some uranium to 60 percent as “provocative.”

“We take very seriously its provocative announcement of an intent to begin enriching uranium at 60 percent,” Blinken said. “I have to tell you the step calls into question Iran’s seriousness with regard to the nuclear talks.”

Missing from Blinken’s comments was any condemnation of what caused Tehran to take this step, which was the apparent Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. The US has tried to distance itself from the incident but has not denounced the attack.

The White House said on Monday that the US was not involved in the Natanz attack, but at the same time, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was in Israel and vowed an “ironclad” commitment to the country. The US and Israel also held the second session of a strategic group to coordinate on Iran on Tuesday that is headed by each country’s national security advisor.

The Natanz incident is the latest in a long history of Israeli covert attacks against Iran. The timing of the incident is clearly meant to sabotage to JCPOA talks since Israel is strongly opposed to the agreement being revived.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday that Iran had “almost completed preparations” to begin 60 percent uranium enrichment. While the step is a reaction to the Natanz attack, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said 60 percent enrichment can be used to produce radiopharmaceuticals.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.