The International Atomic Energy Agency says it believes that Iran has further increased its stockpile of highly enriched uranium. The United Nations’ atomic watchdog says that increasing its nuclear stockpile is in breach of a 2015 accord with world powers.
The IAEA quarterly report estimates that Iran has a stock of 17.7 kilograms of uranium enriched to up to 60% fissile purity, which is an increase of almost 8 kilograms since August. Such highly enriched uranium can be easily refined to make atomic weapons, which is why world powers have sought to contain Tehran’s nuclear program.
The IAEA report also says that it is not able to ascertain the exact quantity of Iran’s nuclear stockpile due to the limitations that Tehran imposed on U.N. inspectors earlier this year. The agency said it was also concerned about its inspectors “being subjected to excessively invasive physical searches by security officials at nuclear facilities in Iran.”
IAEA also claimed that the searches of the inspectors carried out in Iran were very time-consuming and were intimidated by Iranian authorities at the sites.
The envoy of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations refuted all allegations and called on IAEA member states to “refrain from making hasty or politically motivated comments.” Iran resumed its uranium enrichment after the United States under former President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord and reimposed sanctions on Iran.
Iran stopped all forms of negotiation with the UN and other agencies after its Karaj nuclear facility near Tehran was sabotaged, an act for which it blames Israel. However, surveillance footage of Iranian nuclear sites and online enrichment monitors and electronic seals since February proves the increase in stockpile, says the IAEA.
In order to ease the tensions and bring Tehran back into compliance, senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia plan to meet with Iranian officials on Nov. 29.