Iran has tripled its stock of enriched uranium in the past three months and has not provided inspectors with access to two undeclared sites, the UN nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday in two reports which will raise concerns about the rate at which Tehran is accelerating its rise in atomic power. activity.
One of the confidential reports obtained by the Financial Times of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is responsible for monitoring Iran’s compliance with its 2015 nuclear agreement and other protocols, said that the stock Iran’s total enriched uranium had reached 1,020.9 kg, or 648.6 kg since the previous one. quarterly report.
A second report, also obtained by the FT, said that Tehran had failed to respond to three IAEA follow-up letters and reminders, which had questions “related to possible unreported nuclear material and related activities nuclear power at three sites in Iran that had not been declared by Iran. “
Iran then denied the IAEA access to two sites on which the agency had requested “place-specific environmental sampling” after receiving no response to its six letters. He asked whether natural uranium or nuclear material was present at three sites, which he did not mention in the report.
“In its response dated January 31, 2020, the agency noted with deep concern that Iran had not responded to the agency’s requests for clarification and access,” said the report. He added that Iran had offered no other way to resolve the issues or enter into substantive discussions with the agency.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi called on Iran “to cooperate immediately and fully with the agency, including by providing prompt access to the sites specified by the agency in accordance with its obligations” in the report. Tehran’s refusal “undermines” the IAEA’s ability to provide credible assurance of the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, he added.
Iran has increased its nuclear activity in stages since May in response to President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to unilaterally withdraw the United States from the nuclear deal that Tehran signed with world powers.
In January, Iran declared that it would no longer comply with any of the uranium enrichment limits that it had accepted under the 2015 agreement. This prompted the European signatories to the agreement to launch a “dispute settlement mechanism” as a sign of growing concern over Tehran’s activities.
This decision could ultimately lead to the reimposition of UN sanctions. European diplomats say they still hope to prevent the deal from collapsing completely through a diplomatic process and urged Tehran to reach an agreement with Washington.
The other signatories to the agreement – France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China – oppose Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement and his imposition of widespread sanctions to the Islamic Republic. But the scale of Washington’s punitive measures has hampered their efforts to maintain open trade and finance lines with Iran, which has been plunged into a deep recession.
As part of the 2015 agreement, Iran agreed to limit its stock of enriched uranium to 300 kg.
Tehran insists on its attachment to the agreement. It continued to allow the IAEA to conduct what is described as the strictest inspection regime in the United Nations.
But he accuses the other signatories, in particular the Europeans, of not having delivered the promised economic dividend to Tehran after having agreed to limit its nuclear activity in exchange for the lifting of numerous sanctions under the agreement.
Kazem Gharib Abadi, Iranian representative to the IAEA, was cut off when accessing the two sites. Instead, he said that the watchdog had admitted that the republic still voluntarily authorized inspections and that the IAEA report confirmed that Iran’s nuclear activity was not being diverted to a nuclear program. armament.
Tehran has always insisted that its atomic program is intended for peaceful civilian purposes.
The IAEA report indicates that uranium has been enriched to a maximum level of 4.5%, higher than the 3.67% authorized by the nuclear pact, but well below the 90% that experts consider necessary for a bomb.
The 35 members of the IAEA board of directors are scheduled to meet on March 9 to review the reports, which were delivered privately to 171 member countries on Tuesday.