Iran further increases its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels

Iran and the UN' nuclear watchdog are still negotiating over how to implement a deal struck last year to expand inspections of the Islamic Republic's rapidly advancing atomic program.
Iran flag
Iran flag (Photo| AP)

VIENNA: Iran has further increased its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels, a confidential report by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog said Monday.

The report, seen by The Associated Press, said Iran now has 142.1 kilograms (313.2 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 60% — an increase of 20.6 kilograms (45.4 pounds) since the last report in February. Uranium enriched at 60% purity is just a short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%.

According to the report, Iran's overall stockpile of enriched uranium stands at 6201.3 kilograms (13671.5 pounds), which represents an increase of 675.8 kilograms (1489.8 pounds) since the last report by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In its current report, the IAEA also said Tehran has not reconsidered the agency's September 2023 decision of barring the most experienced nuclear inspectors from monitoring its nuclear program but added that it expected Iran "to do so in the context of the ongoing consultations between the Agency and Iran."

The IAEA also said that the deaths of Iran's President and Foreign Minister in a helicopter crash have caused a pause in the UN nuclear watchdog's talks with Tehran over improving cooperation.

In its current report, the IAEA said that Iran suggested in a letter dated May 21 that discussions related to the cooperation between the IAEA and Iran "be continued in Tehran 'on an appropriate date that will be mutually agreed upon'."

Iran has maintained its nuclear program is peaceful, but the IAEA chief, Rafael Mariano Grossi, has already warned that Tehran has enough uranium enriched to near-weapons-grade levels to make "several" nuclear bombs if it chose to do so. He has acknowledged the agency cannot guarantee that none of Iran's centrifuges may have been peeled away for clandestine enrichment.

Iran and the United Nations' nuclear watchdog are still negotiating over how to implement a deal struck last year to expand inspections of the Islamic Republic's rapidly advancing atomic program.

The IAEA's acknowledgment shows the challenges his inspectors face, years after the collapse of Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers and the wider tensions gripping the Mideast over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com