Iran is enriching uranium in quantity and purity well above that agreed in the 2015 nuclear pact, while substantially limiting international inspections and not responding to specific doubts about its past activities, the IAEA, the UN’s atomic agency, criticized this Monday.
In its most recent report, issued in Vienna, the IAEA specifies that Iran currently has 3,241 kilos of enriched uranium, 9.2% more than in February, with a few kilos of this material (2.4) with a purity of 60%, a value close to that necessary to make atomic bombs.
On the other hand, the IAEA calls “deeply disturbing” that Iran remains unanswered to questions about the presence of fissile material at three undeclared nuclear facilities so far, affecting its ability to ensure the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.
Lack of explanations
The UN agency has had evidence of the presence of nuclear footprints at various facilities, without receiving explanations from the Iranian side.
To clarify this situation, the IAEA had agreed in February an agenda of conversations with its Iranian interlocutors, which, however, it has not given the expected results so far, regrets the report released this Monday.
This lack of transparency can constitute a violation of nuclear safeguard agreements Iran with the IAEA, on the sidelines of the 2015 atomic deal.
Iran should not have more than 300 kilos of enriched uranium, a material of possible dual use, civil and military, according to that pact, known as JCPOA (for its acronym in English).
In an attempt to pressure the United States in the negotiations to reestablish the JCPOA, Iran has limited since February 23 inspections to a minimum of the IAEA in its territory.
Those limitations are causing inspectors to verify Iranian activities only with a certain time lag, a diplomatic source familiar with the IAEA’s activities in Iran explained to the press in Vienna.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic is not applying the so-called “additional protocol” of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which allows inspections without prior notice at any facility in the country.
This special permit was an integral part of the JCPOA, which Iran is not conceding since last February.
Negotiations to save the JCPOA
All this happens in the middle of negotiations of the JCPOA countries (Russia, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the United States, indirectly) to restore the agreement, which have been held since the beginning of April in Vienna.
Former US President, Republican Donald Trump, abandoned the deal in 2018 to impose new sanctions against Iran.
The nuclear pact set limits on Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for lift international sanctions, a balance that broke the US exit from the JCPOA.
The Iranians, for their part, breach much of the agreement, especially in terms of access to inspectors and the quantity and purity of enriched uranium.
The new president of the United States, Democrat Joe Biden, wants to return to the agreement, but first demands that Iran fulfill its obligations.
Meanwhile, the Iranians demand that The US lift its sanctions first, including an oil embargo.
The Vienna negotiations seek a mechanism to allow a simultaneous return from Iran and the United States to the JCPOA.