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IAEA: Iran further raises uranium stockpiles 8 times its limit, blocks visits to sites

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA Imagebank/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The United Nations’ atomic watchdog said on June 5 that Iran has continued to increase its stockpiles of enriched uranium far beyond the limits set in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Separately, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) raised “serious concerns” over Iran’s refusal to let international inspectors investigate possible past nuclear activities at two locations.

The United States pulled out of the accord in May 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions that have battered the Iranian economy.

In response, Tehran has been progressively breaking the restrictions laid down in the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, saying that it can reverse them if the remaining parties to the deal — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — increase economic incentives.

As of May 20, Iran’s total stockpile of low-enriched uranium amounted to 1,571.6 kilograms, nearly eight times more than the limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal, the IAEA said in a report on June 5.

Iran has been open about the violations and continues to allow IAEA inspectors access to facilities to monitor their operations.

However, the Vienna-based agency said in a separate report that for more than four months Iran has “denied access” to two of three locations it had identified as sites where the country possibly stored undeclared nuclear material or undertook nuclear-related activities without declaring them to international observers.

The IAEA said that the third location “underwent extensive sanitization and levelling in 2003 and 2004” and there would be no verification value in inspecting it.

Activities at all three sites are thought to have taken place before the nuclear pact with world powers was inked.