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In latest reports, UN watchdog says questions swirl over Iran’s nuclear program

IAEA (IAEA Imagebank/Flickr)
September 08, 2022

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

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium is nearing the level where further enrichment could be enough for a nuclear bomb and that Tehran has failed to provide credible answers on the origin of uranium particles found at three undeclared sites that the UN’s nuclear watchdog has been investigating for years.

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An IAEA quarterly report, released on September 7, says Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched up to 60 percent has grown to 55.6 kilograms, a 12.5-kilogram increase over the past three months. If enriched further, that would be more than enough for a nuclear bomb.

The report says that means that the IAEA is “not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

A second IAEA report issued the same day raises further concerns by noting that Iran has yet to provide credible answers on the origin of uranium particles found at three undeclared sites.

“The director-general is increasingly concerned that Iran has not engaged with the agency on the outstanding safeguards issues during this reporting period and, therefore, that there has been no progress towards resolving them,” the second report notes.

Iran has been increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium since the United States unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 accord between Tehran and global powers to keep Iran’s nuclear program in check in exchange for relief from sanctions.

The two sides have held 16 months of indirect talks that led to the European Union making a proposal last month to restore the deal, along with the lifting of U.S. sanctions.

But in its response, Iran demanded the IAEA halt the investigation into the probe.