Iran nuclear deal

IAEA discussing with Iran report of uranium enrichment to near nuclear weapons-grade

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The United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Sunday it was discussing the recent results of verification activities with Iran after Bloomberg reported that the agency had detected uranium enriched to 84 percent purity – the highest level reported in the country to date and very close to weapons-grade.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Twitter it was “aware of recent media reports relating to uranium enrichment levels in Iran.” Adding: “The IAEA is discussing with Iran the results of recent Agency verification activities and will inform the IAEA Board of Governors as appropriate.”


Bloomberg’s report cites two senior diplomats as saying that international atomic monitors have detected in Iran last week uranium enriched to 84 percent purity, which is just 6 percent below the weapons grade purity of 90 percent required for a nuclear weapon.

The IAEA's Director General Rafael Grossi had sounded the alarm last month about the massive stockpile of enriched uranium that Iran has amassed. He said: “One thing is true: They have amassed enough nuclear material for several nuclear weapons, not one at this point.”

The IAEA had reported in November that Iran had begun enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity at its Fordow nuclear plant and was planning to expand its enrichment capacity.

The 84 percent purity is a marked acceleration of the activities of Tehran’s nuclear program, which it insists is for peaceful purposes only. The latest reported enrichment level is also well above the 20 percent Iran produced before signing the now-defunct 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The accord caps enrichment at 3.67 percent.

The report comes as tensions are high between Iran and the West over the stalled negotiations to revive the nuclear deal, Tehran’s repression of protesters and human rights violations amid countrywide demonstrations over the death of Mahsa Amini, and the regime’s supply of arms to Russia which are used in the latter’s war in Ukraine.

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