Iran: Near bomb-grade level uranium found in nuclear plant, says IAEA report
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Particles of uranium enriched to near bomb-grade levels have been found at an Iranian nuclear facility, according to the United Nations nuclear watchdog. As America had warned that Tehran’s nuclear bomb capability was accelerating.
In a restricted report seen by CNN, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that uranium particles up to 83.7% purity — close to the 90% enrichment level needed to make a nuclear bomb — were found in Iran’s Fordow fuel enrichment. was found plant (FFEP), an underground nuclear facility located approximately 20 miles northeast of the city of Qom.
In January, the IAEA took environmental samples at the Fordow plant, which showed the presence of highly enriched uranium particles up to 83.7% purity, the report said.
The IAEA later informed Iran that the findings were “inconsistent with the level of enrichment at the Fordow plant as declared by Iran and requested Iran to clarify the origin of these particles,” the report added. has gone
According to the secret IAEA report, Iran’s uranium stockpile has increased by 60% from 25.2 kg to 87.5 kg since the last quarterly report.
The IAEA report said discussions with Iran are ongoing to clarify the matter, noting that “these incidents clearly violate the IAEA’s mandate to detect and report changes in the operation of nuclear facilities in Iran.” represent the potential of”.
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian did not directly answer a question on the revisions reports.
Amir-Abdollahian said that IAEA Deputy Director General Massimo Apparo visited Iran on two occasions in the past weeks and that IAEA Director General Raffaele Grossi has been invited to visit the country.
“We have a roadmap with the IAEA. And on two occasions, Mr. [Massimo] Aparo, Sr. [Rafael] Grossi’s deputy came to Iran in the last few weeks, and we had constructive and productive discussions. And we have invited Mr. Grossi to come and visit Iran soon,” Amir-Abdullahian told CNN. “So our relationship with the IAEA is on the right, natural path.”
Last year, Iran removed all IAEA equipment previously installed for monitoring and surveillance activities related to the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The move had “detrimental implications for the IAEA’s ability to provide assurances of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” the IAEA report said.
A US State Department spokeswoman said on Tuesday that the IAEA’s report represents a potentially “very serious development”.
“We are in close contact with our allies and partners in Europe and the region as we await further details from the IAEA on this potentially very serious development,” the spokesperson added.
Under Policy Secretary Colin Kahl said on Tuesday that “Iran’s nuclear progress” has been remarkable since the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal, and that in 2018, when the U.S. withdrew, “taking it It took Iran about 12 months to produce one fissile, one bomb’s worth of fissile material.
“Now it will take about 12 days,” he said.
More than a year of indirect talks between the US and Iran to try to restore the 2015 nuclear deal broke down in September 2022. The tension between the two countries only worsened then. Iran’s crackdown on nationwide protests At home, and as Tehran Supplied drones to Russia In the Ukraine war.
Kahl said Tuesday that the agreement is “on ice.”