But he added that it was a provocative political gesture.
“From a political point of view, you can’t know how much they will enrich and it calls for increased sanctions and application of more measures to contain and isolate Iran,” he said.
Michael Adler, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, said, “Iran’s increasing uranium enrichment to just under 20 percent would be a significant expansion of its nuclear work, since it would bring it much closer to being able to make weapons-grade uranium.”
“Iran says it is doing this for the most peaceful of purposes, to make isotopes for medical diagnosis, but it will only feed U.S. concerns that Tehran seeks nuclear weapons,” Mr. Adler said.
“The frustration for Washington is that it is hard to see how the current U.S. push for new sanctions will slow Iran down at this point, unless [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is just blustering or trying to make a deal.”
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