UN nuke watchdog: Iran pressing on with uranium enrichment

VIENNA (AP) – Iran has further increased its stocks of highly enriched uranium, which could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons, contrary to an agreement with the world powers from 2015, Tehran’s nuclear program, the UN

VIENNA (AP) – Iran has further increased its stocks of highly enriched uranium, which could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons, in contradiction to an agreement with the world powers of 2015 that was supposed to curb Tehran’s nuclear program, the UN atomic guard announced on Tuesday with.

The International Atomic Energy Agency also announced in its confidential quarterly report that its verification and monitoring activities had been “seriously undermined” since February by Iran denying inspectors access to IAEA monitoring equipment.

The Vienna-based agency informed members that their confidence in the proper assessment of Iranian activities – what they termed the “continuity of knowledge” – diminished over time and would continue to do so “unless the situation did.” fixed immediately by Iran ”.

The IAEA said that certain surveillance and monitoring equipment cannot be left without maintenance for more than three months. She was given access to four surveillance cameras installed at one site this month, but one of the cameras was destroyed and a second was badly damaged, the agency said.

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he was ready to travel to Iran to meet the recently elected government for talks on the issue.

The agency said it estimates Iran’s uranium supply, enriched to 60% fissile purity, at 10 kilograms, an increase of 7.6 kilograms since May, while the country’s uranium supplies, which are enriched to up to 20 percent fissile purity , is now estimated at 84.3 kilograms. of 62.8 kilograms three months earlier.

Iran’s total uranium supply is estimated at 2,441.3 kilograms as of August 30, compared to 3,241 kilograms on May 22, the agency said.

Tehran is only allowed to store 202.8 kilograms of uranium under the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which promises Iran economic incentives in return for limiting its nuclear program and is intended to prevent Tehran from developing a bomb.

The US unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, but the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia all tried to keep the deal up.

Tehran’s strategy of deliberately violating the deal is seen as an attempt to pressure Europe to incentivize Iran to offset the crippling American sanctions re-imposed after the US withdrawal.

President Joe Biden has said he is ready to rejoin the pact. The last round of talks in Vienna ended in June with no clear result.

In Tehran, Iranian news agencies quoted the Iranian envoy to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, as saying in Vienna that all of Iran’s nuclear activities were carried out “within the framework of Iranian nuclear rights and the non-proliferation treaty”.

He claimed the agency was under pressure from some members and urged them to remain “independent, impartial and professional”.

In a separate confidential report from The Associated Press, the agency expressed deep concern about the presence of nuclear material in undeclared locations in Iran. “Even after around two years, the security issues (…) in relation to the four locations in Iran that have not been reported to the agency remain unsolved,” the report says.

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Nasser Karimi in Tehran contributed to this report.

Kiyoko Metzler, The Associated Press

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