The United States is concerned about Iranian production of uranium metal as reported by the UN nuclear watchdog.

The State Department said on August 16 that the United States has seen the latest report to members by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which found Iran has made progress in its work on enriched uranium metal.

“Iran has no credible need to produce uranium metal, which has direct relevance to nuclear weapons development,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

“Iran should cease its nuclear escalations and return to negotiations toward full implementation” of the 2015 nuclear agreement, he said.

Uranium metal can be used to build the core of a nuclear bomb. But Iran said earlier this year that it was researching uranium metal for a new type of reactor fuel.

Under the Iran nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran committed to not produce uranium metal. But it breached that promise as one of a series of steps it took in violation of the JCPOA after former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal and reimposed sanctions.

U.S. President Joe Biden says he wants to return to the deal, but indirect talks in Vienna brokered by the Europeans to get both Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the accord have stalled.

Source » rferl