Iran short of ‘significant quantity’ of material for nukes: IAEA

October 11, 2020 - 12:51

TEHRAN — International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi has said Iran is not in possession of enough enriched uranium to develop nuclear weapons.

“The Iranians continue to enrich uranium, and to a much higher degree than they have committed themselves to. And this amount is growing by the month,” Grossi said in an interview with Austrian paper Die Presse published on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Asked about Iran’s “breakout” time — the period it would take to produce enough nuclear material for one weapon — he said, “In the IAEA we do not talk about breakout time. We look at the significant quantity, the minimum amount of enriched uranium or plutonium needed to make an atomic bomb. Iran does not have this significant quantity at the moment.”

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly said that it has never sought and will never seek to build nuclear weapons. The decision, Tehran says, is based on a fatwa (religious decree) issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The fatwa bans the production, possession and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction

Iran has also signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — whose aim is to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and weapons technology — in July 1968 and ratified it in February 1970. 

In order to address the commotion created by the United States and its allies over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, Tehran signed a nuclear deal with six world powers in 2015. Under the deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for a lifting of sanctions.

However, in May 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and restored the sanctions on Iran.

In response, Iran gradually reduced its commitments to the JCPOA under a process beginning a year after the U.S. withdrawal.

Iran is currently enriching uranium to up to 4.5% purity, far below the 20% it achieved before the deal and the 90% that is considered weapons-grade.

MH/PA

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