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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking in Tehran on April 10. Photo: Iran Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran said Saturday it's testing a new and advanced nuclear centrifuge to more effectively enrich uranium, AP reports.

Why it matters: The announcement by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani comes as Tehran and Washington hold indirect talks in an attempt to bring the U.S. back into the 2015 nuclear deal.

Context: The Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the deal in 2018, accusing Iran of failing to adhere to the agreement, and slapped fresh sanctions on the country.

  • Iran, in response, stepped up its enrichment efforts by building centrifuges and enriching nuclear materials to levels that violated the deal while insisting that it has no desire to develop a nuclear weapon.
  • Iran announced in January that it would resume 20% uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow nuclear facility, and it has since produced 121 pounds of uranium enriched to up to 20%, according to the Reuters.

Details: The centrifuge unveiled Saturday may be able to output enriched nuclear material 50 times quicker than the country's first centrifuge and is likely a new breach of the 2015 deal, according to AP.

The big picture: The indirect talks in Vienna this week "met expectations" but did not assuage U.S. doubts about Iran's willingness to negotiate in good faith over the deal, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

  • The talks are expected to continue in a similar format starting the middle of next week.
  • Iran has said it would not stop enriching uranium at levels that violate the deal until the U.S. lifts its sanctions on the country, while the Biden administration has demanded that Iran must show compliance to the deal before it lifts the sanctions and rejoins.

Go deeper

Apr 9, 2021 - World

U.S. unsure of Iran's "seriousness of purpose" after Vienna nuclear talks

The setting for the talks, in Vienna's Grand Hotel. Photo: EU Delegation in Vienna via Getty

This week's nuclear talks in Vienna "met expectations" but did not assuage U.S. doubts about Iran's willingness to negotiate in good faith over the 2015 nuclear deal, a senior State Department official told reporters on Friday.

The state of play: Iran refused to meet directly with the U.S. but held three days of talks with the nuclear deal's other signatories, while the U.S. — represented in Vienna by Iran envoy Rob Malley — communicated indirectly through envoys, primarily from the European Union.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
39 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.