In a confidential quarterly report that will likely renew tensions between Iran and the West over its nuclear program, inspectors of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran has enriched uranium to a little less than the 90% needed to produce an atomic bomb.
The team from the United Nations nuclear watchdog found uranium particles U-235 enriched up to 83.7 percent in Iran’s underground nuclear site Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), with IAEA saying in its report that discussions are still ongoing to determine the origin of these particles.
As said in the confidential report, the analytical results of the high-enriched uranium particles clearly indicate the capability of the agency to detect and report in a timely manner changes in the operation of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Adamant it had not made any attempt to enrich uranium beyond 60 percent, Iran claimed – asked about the presence of the particles- that unintended fluctuations may have occurred during the enrichment process.
As the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, Behruz Kamalvandi, pointed out, the presence of a particle or uranium particles above 60% in the enrichment process does not mean enrichment above 60%.
The IAEA report, which, among other things, notes that Iran’s estimated stockpile of enriched uranium had reached more than 18 times the limit set out in the 2015 accord, also estimates that as of February 12, Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was 3,760.8kg – an increase of 87.1kg compared to November, when the last report was published.
It is believed that Tehran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 60% stands at 87.5kg, up from 62.3kg detailed in the November report whereas the amount of uranium enriched up to 20% has risen to 434.7kg – up from 386.4kg
The 2015 deal limits Iran’s stockpile to 202.8kg.
IAEA has distributed its quarterly report as its head Rafael Grossi is expected to visit Tehran in the coming days – following an official invitation by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran – for constructive and allegedly promising discussions.
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