IAEA report: Iran continues to violate nuclear deal

UN’s atomic watchdog says Iran continues to increase its stockpile of low-enriched uranium far beyond limits set in 2015 nuclear deal.

Elad Benari ,

IAEA headquarters
IAEA headquarters
iStock

Iran continues to increase its stockpile of low-enriched uranium far beyond the limits set in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and to enrich it to a greater purity than permitted, the UN’s atomic watchdog agency said Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in a confidential document distributed to member countries and seen by The Associated Press that, as of November 2, Iran had a stockpile of 2,442.9 kilograms (5385.7 pounds) of low-enriched uranium, up from 2,105.4 kilograms (4,641.6 pounds) reported on August 25.

The nuclear deal signed in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds).

The IAEA reported that Iran has also been continuing to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 4.5%, higher than the 3.67% allowed under the deal.

The IAEA said in its previous 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.

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.

At the same time, the Iranian government has continued to allow IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear facilities, a key reason the countries that remain parties to the JCPOA say it’s worth preserving.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi last month 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.

In the quarterly report distributed to members on Wednesday, the IAEA said it still has questions from the discovery last year of particles of uranium of man-made origin at a site outside Tehran not declared by Iran.

The agency has been pressing Tehran for information about the kind of activities being carried out at an undeclared site where the uranium particles were found.

While the IAEA has not identified the site in question, it is believed to be the Turquzabad facility which was identified by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his address before the UN General Assembly in 2018 as a "secret atomic warehouse."

Although the IAEA says it has the power to carry out snap inspections anywhere in Iran it deems necessary, Tehran had denied it access to the two sites for seven months until a deal was recently struck for access to the secret sites.

In the current report, the IAEA said the “compositions of these isotopically altered particles” found there were “similar to particles found in Iran in the past, originating from imported centrifuge components.” It said it found Iran’s response to questions last month “unsatisfactory.”

“Following an assessment of this new information, the agency informed Iran that it continues to consider Iran’s response to be not technically credible,” the IAEA wrote, according to AP. “A full and prompt explanation from Iran...is needed.”



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