UN nuclear watchdog 'concerned' over 'undeclared material' in Iran

UN nuclear watchdog is ‘deeply concerned’ over ‘undeclared material’ at Iranian site

  • UN atomic watchdog ‘deeply concerned’ by possible nuclear material at Iran site
  • Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium now over 14 times limit set by world powers  
  • It is the latest in a string of violations of 2015 nuclear deal with world powers

The UN’s atomic watchdog has today said that it is ‘deeply concerned’ by the possible presence of nuclear material at an undeclared site in Iran.

‘The agency is deeply concerned that undeclared nuclear material may have been present at this undeclared location and that such nuclear material remains unreported by Iran under its safeguards agreement,’ a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency said. 

Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium is now more than 14 times over the limit set down in its 2015 deal with world powers, the UN’s nuclear agency said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (left) meets with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi (right) in Tehran, Iran, February 21, 2021

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report seen by AFP said that as of February 16, Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was 2,967.8 kilos.

The limit in the 2015 deal was set at 300 kilos (660 pounds) of enriched uranium in a particular compound form, which is the equivalent of 202.8 kilos of uranium in non-compound form. 

The UN’s atomic watchdog also said its inspectors have confirmed that Iran has started enriching uranium up to 20 per cent purity, a technical step away from weapons-grade levels.

It is the latest in a string of violations of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi, right, speaks with spokesman of Iran’s atomic agency Behrouz Kamalvandi upon his arrival at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, Iran, February 20, 2021

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in a confidential document distributed to member countries, and seen by the Associated Press, that as of February 16 Iran had added 17.6kg (38.8lb) of uranium enriched to 20 per cent to its stockpile.

Overall, it increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to 2,967.8kg (6,542.9lb), up from 2,442.9kg (5,385.7lb) reported on November 2.

The nuclear deal signed in 2015 with the US, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8kg (447lb).

It also allows enrichment only up to 3.67 per cent.

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