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Iran Spikes Enriched Uranium Production As Biden Tries to Seal Nuclear Deal

Iran Spikes Enriched Uranium Production As Biden Tries to Seal Nuclear Deal

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Iran continues with its controversial nuclear program and increased in three months by almost a third, to 55.6 kilos, its stockpile of uranium enriched to 60%, a purity close to the level necessary to manufacture atomic bombs, informed Wednesday the IAEA, the United Nations nuclear agency.

A reserved report, to which EFE had access in Vienna, specifies that the amount of uranium enriched by Iran to different levels (2 %, 5 %, 20 %, and 60 %), increased between May and August by 131.6 kilos, to 3,940.9 kilos, well above the limits established by the 2015 agreement limiting the Iranian nuclear program.

The inspectors further stress that Iran’s decision to disconnect dozens of IAEA monitoring and verification cameras will hamper their abilities to provide assurances about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

While the production of fissile material, with possible dual civilian and military use, continues to grow, Iran is restricting inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on its territory.

Specifically, the Iranians refuse to allow inspectors to visit any type of facility without prior notice, nor do they provide access to electronic monitoring data on the production of enriched uranium.

Tehran decided last June to disconnect some 40 verification cameras from the 2015 nuclear deal in reaction to a critical resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors.

The deal stipulates that Iran should have no more than 300 kilograms of enriched uranium in gas form, which is equivalent to about 200 kilograms in solid form.

Iran, which since 2019 has not been in compliance with its obligations under the agreement, justifies the production of uranium enriched to 60% as material dedicated to medical purposes.

Sources close to the IAEA told the press today that Iran is increasing the rate of production of such enriched uranium, as it is managing to “optimize the process.”

Negotiations on the reinstatement of the deal (JCPOA) are in the final stretch, although the parties appear to be at an impasse to reach an agreement.

The European Union (EU) submitted a final proposal in August to salvage the agreement, to which Iran and the United States have submitted their comments.

Tehran is conditioning its return to JCPOA compliance on the IAEA terminating its safeguards investigations (controls) in Iran.

In a second report issued today by the agency, the inspectors criticize that they still have not received “technically credible explanations” for the presence of uranium particles at three undeclared nuclear facilities.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi expresses in this second report his “growing concern” that Iran is not cooperating in clarifying these doubts.

Therefore, the IAEA is not in a position to confirm that Iran’s atomic program is exclusively peaceful.

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