IAEA: Iran’s Enriched Uranium Stockpile Is 30x Bigger than Obama Nuclear Deal Allows

An Iranian technician works at a Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan 20 November
AFP/Getty Images

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a confidential report on Monday that discovered that Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium reached 30 times the limit Tehran accepted in former President Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal.

The IAEA document, which has not been released to the public but was reviewed by Associated Press (AP) reporters, said Iran now has 6,201 kilograms of enriched uranium in its inventory — a dramatic increase of 675.8 pounds from the last IAEA report in February.

The IAEA report also complained that Iran is still interfering with its operations by preventing its most experienced inspectors from monitoring nuclear facilities.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi visited Iran in early May. He offered some encouragement and optimism for the Iranians while he was in the country, but, as soon as he departed, he complained about Iran’s “completely unsatisfactory” level of cooperation with his nuclear inspectors.

“The present state is completely unsatisfactory for me. We are almost at an impasse and this needs to be changed,” Grossi said upon returning to Vienna from Tehran.

Grossi said in January that Iran now has enough enriched uranium to build “several nuclear weapons.” By this, he meant Iran had stockpiled enough near-weapons-grade material — enriched far beyond any rational civilian need — to refine the uranium a bit further and create simple atomic weapons.

Grossi and other IAEA officials have taken Iran’s swelling uranium stockpile as a reason for caution, clearly nervous that pushing the Iranians too hard might make them cooperate even less. Iran’s involvement in the Gaza war and its growing relationship with Russia have also been cited as reasons for treading carefully.

On the other hand, the confidential IAEA report expressed some hope that Iran’s new government might be more cooperative following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which often publishes unsubstantiated and anonymous claims as “exclusive” journalism, reported on Monday that the Biden administration is pressuring Europe to back away from plans to censure Iran over its uranium refinement.

According to this report, citing “diplomats involved in discussions,” the UK and France were alarmed by the confidential IAEA assessment of Iran’s swelling stocks of enriched uranium and worried that Iran’s defiance would damage the credibility of the IAEA. 

The Biden administration, on the other hand, is allegedly concerned that Raisi’s death made Iran more “volatile” and that sanctions could make Tehran permanently unwilling to return to the Obama nuclear deal — a goal the Biden team still cherishes despite years of provocations and intransigence from the Iranians.

The Europeans, who were generally in favor of reviving the nuclear deal until recently, reportedly find Biden’s refusal to censure Iran for even the most excessive violations “frustrating.”

According to the WSJ, the Biden administration is privately telling European officials it will request a comprehensive IAEA report that could be used to trigger a “snapback” of the remaining sanctions against Iran lifted by Obama’s nuclear deal but not until after the U.S. presidential election in November. Opposing candidate Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal in 2018 and would likely have a field day with Biden admitting Iran has massively violated the agreement.


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