IAEA increasingly concerned over Iran’s capabilities to produce nuclear weapons

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

The UN nuclear watchdog has voiced growing concern over Iran’s ability to build nuclear weapons, fueled by public statements in the country, a confidential report seen by AFP on Monday said.

Tensions between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have repeatedly flared up since a 2015 deal curbing Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief fell apart.

In the report, IAEA head Rafael Grossi said that “public statements made in Iran regarding its technical capabilities to produce nuclear weapons only increase the director general’s concerns about the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations.”

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

In recent years, Iran has gradually decreased its cooperation with the IAEA by deactivating surveillance devices needed to the nuclear program and barring inspectors among other measures.

Grossi reiterated his call on Tehran to “cooperate fully and unambiguously with the agency,” as relations between the two parties have been steadily deteriorating.

“Only through constructive and meaningful engagement can these concerns be addressed,” Grossi said in a confidential quarterly report.

While Tehran denies seeking to acquire a nuclear weapons, some politicians and officials have made concerning statements about the country’s technical capabilities, a diplomatic source said.

At the same time, Iran has significantly ramped up its nuclear program and now has enough material to build several atomic bombs.

In a separate confidential report seen by AFP ahead of an IAEA board of governors’ meeting next week, the agency said that Iran’s estimated stockpile of enriched uranium had reached 27 times the limit set out in the 2015 accord.

Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was estimated at 5,525.5 kilograms as of February 10, up by 1,038.7 kilograms from October, the report said.

Nuclear weapons require uranium enriched to 90 percent, while 3.67 percent set out in the deal is enough for nuclear power stations.

According to the report, Iran has 712.2 kilograms of uranium enriched at up to 20 percent and 121.5 kilograms at up to 60 percent.

EU-mediated efforts to revive the deal -- bringing the US back on board and Iran back into compliance -- have so far been fruitless.

Grossi also “deeply regrets” that Iran has not yet reversed its decision to ban several of its inspectors.

Iran in September withdrew the accreditation of several inspectors, a move Teheran described as retaliation for “political abuses” by the United States, France, Germany and Britain.

The IAEA has condemned the move -- which targets eight top inspectors, with French and German nationals among them, according to a diplomatic source.

Iran’s “unprecedented” move has “directly and seriously affected” the UN body’s work.

Faced with increased criticism, the Iranian government announced last week that it had invited Grossi to come to Tehran in May for an international conference on energy.

Read more:

Iran dismisses plan by UN nuclear watchdog head to visit next month

IAEA chief says Iran’s nuclear enrichment activity remains high

UN’s nuclear watchdog head says Iran ‘not entirely transparent’ on atomic program

Top Content Trending