The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), nuclear watchdog for the United Nations, reported on Friday that Iran has a stockpile of uranium over ten times the limit set by the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“The limit was set at 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of enriched uranium in a particular compound form, which is the equivalent of 202.8 kg of uranium. Measured against the latter figure, Iran’s stockpile now stands at over 2,105 kg,” AFP reported.
According to the IAEA report, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium is still growing, and it has made preparations to install advanced uranium centrifuges that would violate the nuclear deal. Iran declared in September 2019 that it would begin disregarding the JCPOA’s limits on centrifuges and made claims about its ability to quickly enrich large quantities of uranium that turned out to be true.
“The IAEA reported that Iran has also been continuing to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 4.5%, higher than the 3.67% allowed under the JCPOA. It says Iran’s stockpiles of heavy water has decreased and is now back within the JCPOA limits,” the Associated Press reported.
“The 34% rise in stockpiled uranium follows Iran’s decision to install advanced new centrifuges at a nuclear key facility struck by a blast in July. Installation of the machines, which spin at supersonic speeds to separate the uranium isotopes needed for nuclear fuel, was seen as a signal that saboteurs who targeted the facility in Natanz had failed to interrupt production,” Bloomberg News observed.
The Institute for Science and International Security (“the good ISIS,” as the group jauntily presents its acronym on Twitter) said the new figures from the U.N. watchdog mean Iran’s “breakout time” to a nuclear weapon could now be a short as 3.5 months, with only two months needed to produce a second warhead. The Obama administration claimed the JCPOA would hold Iran’s breakout time to well over one year.
The IAEA also reported that it finally gained access to two sites long suspected of conducting unreported nuclear activity dating back to the early 2000s. Iran agreed to allow the IAEA to visit the sites on August 26 after IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi flew to Tehran and met with President Hassan Rouhani.
Rouhani said last week his country was “ready to closely cooperate with the agency in the framework of safeguards” and said he reached a “favorable” agreement with Grossi — with the caveat that he expected the IAEA to remember that Iran has “sworn enemies” with nuclear weapons who are “always seeking to cause issues” for the Islamic Republic.
“Iran provided Agency inspectors access to the location to take environmental samples. The samples will be analysed by laboratories that are part of the Agency’s network,” the IAEA report said of its site visit.
According to (the good) ISIS, the two sites are “a dismantled pilot uranium conversion facility near Tehran” that was razed in 2004 and the remote Marivan facility, which was not razed until 2019, so it might have “continued nuclear weapons-related activities” until that time or been “held on standby for such experiments.” Both sites were part of the Amad Project, the Iranian drive to create nuclear weapons that began in the late 1990s, peaked around 2003, and was supposedly suspended by the JCPOA in 2015.
Various media outlets noted the revelations about Iran’s cheating on the nuclear deal are coming after the U.N. Security Council refused a U.S. demand to restore “snapback” sanctions on Iran.