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Tehran has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium

2024.05.28, 14:09
Tehran has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium

Iran has further increased its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels, according to a confidential report on Monday by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the latest in Tehran’s attempts to steadily exert pressure on the international community.

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The report, seen by The Associated Press, said that as of May 11, Iran has 142.1 kilograms (313.2 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 60% — an increase of 20.6 kilograms (45.4 pounds) since the last report by the U.N. watchdog in February.

Uranium enriched at 60% purity is just a short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%.

By IAEA’s definition, around 42 kilograms (92.5 pounds) of uranium enriched to 60% is the amount at which creating one atomic weapon is theoretically possible — if the material is enriched further, to 90%.

Also as of May 11, the report says Iran’s overall stockpile of enriched uranium stands at 6,201.3 kilograms (1,3671.5 pounds), which represents an increase of 675.8 kilograms (1,489.8 pounds) since the IAEA’s previous report.

Iran has maintained its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, but the IAEA chief, Rafael Mariano Grossi, has previously warned that Tehran has enough uranium enriched to near-weapons-grade levels to make “several” nuclear bombs if it chose to do so. He has acknowledged the U.N. agency cannot guarantee that none of Iran’s centrifuges may have been peeled away for clandestine enrichment.

Before the May 19 helicopter crash, Iran had agreed to hold technical negotiations with IAEA on May 20, following a visit by Grossi earlier in the month. But those meetings fell apart due to the crash. Iran then sent a letter on May 21, saying its nuclear team wants to continue discussions in Tehran “on an appropriate date that will be mutually agreed upon,” the report said.

The report also said Iran has still not provided answers to the IAEA’s years-long investigation about the origin and current location of manmade uranium particles found at two locations that Tehran has failed to declare as potential nuclear sites, Varamin and Turquzabad.

 

 

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