The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in reports this week to member states that it was “deeply concerned” about what the Islamic Republic of Iran was doing with its nuclear program as it continues to expand its stockpile of highly enriched uranium that could be used to build a nuclear weapon.
The two reports highlighted several areas where officials had serious cause for concern, including that Iran has failed to explain to the IAEA the presence of nuclear material at undeclared sites, that some cameras that are supposed to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities have been damaged or destroyed, and that Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium has increased.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
Tensions between Iran and the agency have also grown around a second issue: IAEA access to Iran to continue monitoring its nuclear facilities and related sites, like uranium ore mines and factories producing machines that spin enriched uranium to higher purity.
Iran in February decided to end inspectors’ access to a range of nuclear facilities in response to continued U.S. sanctions. However, the agency struck a deal with Iran that agency cameras and other monitoring equipment could continue to function. Iran would collect the data and hand it over to the IAEA if the nuclear deal was revived.
“Iran has still not provided the necessary explanations for the presence of the nuclear material particles,” one of the agency’s reports said. “The Director General remains deeply concerned that nuclear material has been present at undeclared locations in Iran and that the current locations of this nuclear material are not known to the Agency.”
The report also noted that the Director General “reiterates that Iran’s failure to respond to the Agency’s requests for access to its monitoring equipment is seriously compromising the Agency’s technical capability to maintain, which is necessary for” it to hold the regime accountable.
The Associated Press reported:
The agency said it estimates Iran’s stock of uranium enriched to up to 60% fissile purity at 10 kilograms, an increase of 7.6 kilograms since May, while the country’s stockpile of uranium enriched to up to 20% fissile purity is now estimated at 84.3 kilograms, up from 62.8 kilograms three months earlier. Iran’s total stock of uranium is estimated at 2,441.3 kilograms as of Aug. 30, down from 3241 kilograms on May 22, the agency said.
Tehran is only permitted to stockpile 202.8 kilograms of uranium under the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, which promises Iran economic incentives in exchange for limits on its nuclear program, and is meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.
Andrea Stricker, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, responded to the IAEA’s reports by saying in a statement, “The United States and Europe must lead the board in passing a resolution against Iran’s misconduct If member states back down against Tehran’s threatening nuclear advances, reduced monitoring, and failure to cooperate…additional states will view extortion and obstruction as appealing ways to avoid their obligations.”