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WorldIran keeps adding to its weapons-grade uranium stockpile - UN

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Iran keeps adding to its weapons-grade uranium stockpile – UN

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Iran has more uranium that is almost strong enough for making weapons. According to the United Nations, this is another way that Iran is trying to put pressure on the world.

Iran wants the economic sanctions against it to be removed in return for reducing its controversial nuclear program. The program, like everything else in Iran, is controlled by Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and that’s probably not going to change after the helicopter crash that killed Iran’s president and foreign minister last week.

The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency is happening at the same time as the Israel-Hamas war, which is causing a lot of tension in the Middle East. Israel and Iran attacked each other’s land for the first time last month.

According to a report seen by The Associated Press, as of May 11th, Iran has 142.1 kilograms (313. 2 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 60 per cent. This is an increase of 20. 6 kilograms (454 pounds) since the last report by the UN watchdog in February. Uranium that is 60% pure is very close to reaching the level needed to make weapons, which is 90% pure.

According to IAEA, about 42 kilograms (92. 5 pounds) of uranium that is enriched to 60 percent is enough to make one atomic weapon, if it is further enriched to 90 percent.

As of May 11, the report says Iran has 6,201.3 kilograms of enriched uranium, which is 675.8 kilograms more than before.

Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful reasons, but the head of the IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi, has said before that Iran has enough enriched uranium to make “several” nuclear bombs if it decides to. He admitted that the UN agency cannot be sure that Iran’s centrifuges have not been used for secretly enriching nuclear material.

Iran and the IAEA have been having more problems since 2018. This is because Donald Trump decided on his own to take the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. Since then, Iran has stopped following the rules of the deal about its nuclear program and started doing more enrichment.

In the old nuclear deal, Iran was allowed to make uranium up to 3.67% pure, keep 300 kilograms of it, and use basic machines to do it.

In 2015, Iran agreed to only enrich uranium to levels needed for making electricity and in return, the economic sanctions against Iran were lifted. At that time, UN inspectors were responsible for watching over the program.

Monday’s report said that Tehran still has not changed its mind about preventing IAEA inspectors from checking its nuclear program. They expect Iran to reconsider this decision during the discussions with the IAEA.

The report also said that Tehran still hasn’t changed its mind about not letting IAEA inspectors keep an eye on its nuclear program. It also said that they want Iran to change its decision during talks with the IAEA.

The report says that Grossi is very sorry that Iran won’t let inspectors in. He thinks it’s really important for them to be allowed in so they can do their job properly.

The report recognized that the deaths of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian have caused a break in the talks between Tehran and the IAEA about working together better.

Before the helicopter crash on May 19, Iran agreed to have talks with the IAEA on May 20. This was after Grossi visited earlier in the month. But those meetings didn’t happen because of the crash. Iran sent a letter on May 21. They said their nuclear team wants to keep talking in Tehran at a time that works for both sides.

The report also said that Iran still hasn’t given the IAEA information about where the manmade uranium particles found at two places, Varamin and Turquzabad, came from and where they are now.

The IAEA asked for something to be fixed. If it’s not fixed, they won’t be able to make sure Iran’s declarations are correct and complete. This is part of an agreement between Iran and the nuclear watchdog.

The report said that no new monitoring equipment, like cameras, has been put back in place yet since they were taken out in June 2022. Since then, the only information available is from cameras installed by the IAEA at a workshop where centrifuges are made in Isfahan in May 2023. But Iran has not let the IAEA see this information.

The IAEA checked some cameras in Isfahan on May 21, after a delay in April. They collected data since December 2023 and put it under separate seals from both the Agency and Iran at the locations.

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