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Nuclear watchdog warns Iran is continuing to enrich uranium to near weapons grade after UN talks stalled



Iran is currently enriching uranium to near weapons-grade levels, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The country’s enriched uranium stockpile has exceeded the limit set in the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers. This increase in enriched uranium has raised concerns about Iran’s nuclear capabilities, especially as talks with the IAEA have stalled. Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was estimated at 13,671.5 pounds as of May 11, with 313.2 pounds of it enriched up to 60 per cent purity.

Despite warnings from the IAEA, Iran has not made progress in implementing previous agreements or improving cooperation with the nuclear watchdog. Talks aimed at enhancing monitoring and inspection efforts in Iran have stalled, with the deaths of Iran’s President and Foreign Minister in a helicopter crash causing further disruptions. The IAEA has expressed a willingness to continue dialogue with Iran but expects the country to reconsider its decision to prevent experienced nuclear inspectors from monitoring its nuclear program.

Iran has maintained that its nuclear program is peaceful, however, IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi has warned that Iran has enough uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels to create multiple nuclear bombs if it chooses to do so. The agency cannot guarantee that none of Iran’s centrifuges have been used for clandestine enrichment. The collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers has added to the challenges faced by the IAEA in monitoring Iran’s atomic program, as Tehran’s stockpiles have continued to increase.

The UK government has criticized Iran for violating the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) since 2019. The JCPOA was an agreement between Iran, the EU, and the P5+1 in 2015, aimed at limiting Iran’s enrichment program. Under the deal, Iran agreed to reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, limit enrichment activities, and convert facilities to prevent nuclear proliferation. However, Iran announced in 2020 that it would no longer adhere to the terms of the agreement, although it would continue to cooperate with the IAEA.

Iran has a long history of nuclear development, dating back to 1957 when it initially received support from the American ‘Atoms for Peace’ program. This program provided nuclear technology to countries for peaceful purposes only. However, Iran’s nuclear program has since raised concerns about its intentions, especially as it continues to enrich uranium to near weapons-grade levels. The ongoing tensions between Iran, world powers, and the IAEA highlight the challenges of monitoring and controlling nuclear proliferation in the region.

In conclusion, Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium to near weapons-grade levels is a cause for concern for the international community. The country’s failure to adhere to previous agreements and its stalled talks with the IAEA have raised questions about the true nature of its nuclear program. The collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal and the escalating tensions in the region have made it difficult to monitor and control Iran’s nuclear activities. The need for increased cooperation and transparency between Iran and the IAEA is essential to prevent further proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

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