Iran has further increased its total stockpile of uranium, a new report by the UN nuclear watchdog seen by The Associated Press on Monday said.

The report also noted thar Iran continues to bar the agency’s most seasoned inspectors from monitoring its nuclear program,

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also said in a second confidential report, distributed to member states, that Tehran made no progress in explaining the presence of manmade uranium particles found at two locations, according to AP.

The IAEA estimated in its quarterly report that as of February 10, Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was at 5,525.5 kilograms, an increase of 1,038.7 kilograms since the last quarterly report in November 2023.

It also said that according to its assessment, Iran has an estimated 121.5 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 60% purity, which represents a decrease of 6.8 kilograms since the last report in November 2023.

According to the IAEA’s definition, around 42 kilograms of uranium enriched to 60% is the amount at which creating one atomic weapon is theoretically possible. The 60% purity is just a short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%.

Between June and November last year, Iran slowed down the enrichment to 3 kg per month, but jumped back up to a rate of 9 kg at the end of the year, the IAEA previously reported.

The increase came soon after Tehran barred a third of the IAEA’s core inspections team, including the most experienced, from taking part in agreed monitoring of the enrichment process.

Under the original nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, Iran was allowed to enrich uranium only up to 3.67% purity, maintain a stockpile of uranium of 300 kilograms, and use only very basic IR-1 centrifuges, machines that spin uranium gas at high speed for enrichment purposes, in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

However, Iran has scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in 2018.

The Biden administration sought to return to the deal and held indirect talks with Iran on a return to compliance, but the negotiations reached a stalemate last September, after Iran submitted a response to a European Union proposal to revive the deal.

A US official later said that the efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have “hit a wall” because of Iran’s insistence on the closure of the UN nuclear watchdog’s investigations into undeclared uranium in several sites.

The latest IAEA reports come several days after the agency’s director-general, Rafael Grossi, said that Iran continues to enrich uranium well beyond the needs for commercial nuclear use despite UN pressure to stop it.

He also pointed out concerns over the fact that senior officials in Iran have recently said they have all the elements for a nuclear weapon.

Source » israelnationalnews