IAEA chief: Iran doesn't have enough uranium for one bomb at this stage

IAEA chief says Iran continues to enrich uranium but does not at this stage have enough enriched uranium to make one nuclear bomb.

Elad Benari ,

Rafael Grossi
Rafael Grossi

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the Austrian paper Die Presse that Iran does not at this stage have enough enriched uranium to make one nuclear bomb under the UN atomic watchdog’s official definition.

“The Iranians continue to enrich uranium, and to a much higher degree than they have committed themselves to. And this amount is growing by the month,” Rafael Grossi said in the interview, which was quoted by the Reuters news agency.

Asked about how long Iran would need to build a nuclear weapon -- the so-called “breakout time”, he replied, “In the IAEA we do not talk about breakout time. We look at the significant quantity, the minimum amount of enriched uranium or plutonium needed to make an atomic bomb. Iran does not have this significant quantity at the moment.”

The IAEA defines “significant quantity” as the approximate amount of nuclear material for which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded.

The agency said in its most recent report on Iran that the Islamic Republic’s stockpile of enriched uranium now stands at more than ten times the limit set down in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The limit was set at 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of enriched uranium in a particular compound form, which is the equivalent of 202.8 kg of uranium, while Iran's stockpile as of September stood at over 2,105 kg.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.