A confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has revealed that Iran is still enriching uranium. The report seem to be throwing uncertainties into recent nuclear deals between the US and Iran.
According to Reuters, which sighted the report, IAEA said “On 28 August 2022, the Agency verified at FEP that Iran was feeding UF6 enriched up to 2% U-235 into the IR-6 cascade… for the production of UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235.”
Still largely confidential, the report comes as Iran and the United States move towards a new nuclear deal that would force Iran to cap enrichment rates at 3.67% purity, Reuters writes, to make sure it does not produce weapons-grade uranium.
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Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, was quoted last Monday saying if the deal is to be sealed, the IAEA must first complete its investigation into “safeguards issues” related to the discovery of nuclear particles at several Iranian sites.
“Without resolving safeguards issues, talking about an agreement would be meaningless,” Raisi said at a news conference, monitored by Al Jazeera.
The completion of the IAEA probe was one of Iran’s demands for a deal to be possible. The U.S., on the other hand, insisted that Iran must first answer to questions raised by the IAEA. According to a recent report by Reuters, there may be a middle way and it involves a postponement of a final deal.
Reuters reported early his week, citing sources, that Iran’s refusal to comment to any deals before the safeguards issue probes are completed postpones “the fundamental question of whether the IAEA will close them and whether Iran might go ahead with the wider deal if not,” according to one of the sources.
“Iran originally had wanted a commitment that the IAEA would complete the agency’s safeguards investigations by a date certain,” Reuters quoted a U.S. official, noting the U.S. had been against such a commitment.
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“Iran came back and stated that if the safeguards issues were not resolved by Re-Implementation Day, they would reserve the right not to take the steps to curb their nuclear program slated to occur on that date,” the official also said.