The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi (File)

Iran has said that it is moving towards a resumption of its nuclear program with “modern” production of 20% uranium.

The head of Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Sunday that Iran “has broken new ground” with preparations for the fuel production.

The 20%-grade uranium has been used by Tehran for medical isotopes. It can potentially be further enriched to more than 90% for military use.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia), Tehran shipped out all its 20% uranium and halted further production.

Salehi said, “Preliminary steps have been taken to design modern 20% fuel and we are on the threshold. This [new] product is different from the previous 20% fuel and we can supply fuel to any reactor similar to the Tehran Reactor [for medical isotopes].”

Salehi went farther, declaring, “At the present time, designing a reactor has become very possible for our specialists.”

Iran’s Bushehr reactor was designed by German and then Russian firms. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, the smaller Arak heavy water reactor is to be redesigned by a foreign company to ensure that plutonium by-product cannot be put to military use.

Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said in June that Iran would start reconstruction of Arak heavy water reactor once a Chinese expert team finished examination of the last phase of redesign.