June 16th, 2024

Iran further increases its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels

By The Associated Press on May 27, 2024.

VIENNA (AP) – Iran has further increased its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels, a confidential report by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Monday.

The report, seen by The Associated Press, said Iran now 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 in February.

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

Iran’s overall stockpile of enriched uranium stands at 6201.3 kilograms (13671.5 pounds), which represents an increase of 675.8 kilograms (1489.8 pounds) since the last report by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In its current report, the IAEA also said Tehran has not reconsidered the agency’s September 2023 decision of barring the most experienced nuclear inspectors from monitoring its nuclear program but added that it expected Iran “to do so in the context of the ongoing consultations between the Agency and Iran.”

The IAEA also said that the deaths of Iran’s President and Foreign Minister in a helicopter crash have caused a pause in the UN nuclear watchdog’s talks with Tehran over improving cooperation.

In its current report, the IAEA said that Iran suggested in a letter dated May 21 that discussions related to the cooperation between the IAEA and Iran “be continued in Tehran “˜on an appropriate date that will be mutually agreed upon’.”

Iran has maintained its nuclear program is peaceful, but the IAEA chief has warned Tehran has enough enriched uranium for “several” nuclear bombs if it chose to do so.

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