Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs worry the IAEA

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The nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea are of concern to the IAEA

Iran's flag flies in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. Worried, the IAEA says it cannot guarantee that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Wednesday that it has serious concerns about the activities of Iran and North Korea in relation to their respective nuclear programs.

With regard to Iran, first, and in a report published before the Board of Governors next week, the director general of the UN body Rafael Grossi, said more more concerned that no progress has been made to resolve the case of traces of enriched uranium found in various places in the past.

He calls on the Islamic Republic to meet its legal obligations and to cooperate as soon as possible.

This is one of the main points on which the negotiations which started in April 2021 in Vienna stumble to revive the 2015 agreement, torpedoed three years later by former US President Donald Trump.

Tehran again called on Tuesday for a closure of the IAEA investigation to reach a compromise with its direct interlocutors (Germany, France, Great Britain, China and Russia), while the United States is participating in it. indirectly.

The IAEA also deplores the decision announced in June by Iran to remove a number of surveillance cameras, citing detrimental consequences for the ability to verify the civilian character of the nuclear program.

While restricting access to the UN body, Iran has continued in recent months to accumulate enriched uranium, according to sources. estimates delivered in a separate document.

Stocks are now more than 19 times the limit allowed by the 2015 international agreement.

Tehran thus increased its total reserves as of August 21 to 3940.9 kg, against 3809.3 kg in mid-May, far from the ceiling of 202.8 kg to which it had committed.

Iran notably increased its stock of 20% enriched material to 331.9 kg, against 238.4 kg previously. This level, which is above the 3.67% set by the agreement, theoretically makes it possible to produce medical isotopes, used in particular in the diagnosis of certain cancers.

The Islamic Republic also has 55.6 kg against 43.1 kg of uranium enriched to 60%, a threshold close to the 90% necessary for the development of an atomic weapon, against 33.2 kg previously.

Furthermore, the IAEA says in its annual report – released Wednesday – that North Korea's nuclear activities remain a source of serious concern.< /p>

The continuation of the military program is deeply regrettable, says the UN body, saying it is a clear violation of standing UN Security Council resolutions.

The reopening of the nuclear test site is "really disturbing", as is "the expansion of the enrichment facility" and “continued operation of the five-megawatt reactor,” the report said.

At the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, work has also taken place, the IAEA notes, including to reopen a test tunnel. Road construction resumed at the end of August.

At Yongbyon, in the country's main nuclear complex, construction of a new annex began in September 2021 and now has a completed appearance from the outside, according to the Agency, which cannot determine its purpose.

The future of this nuclear complex was one of the contentious points of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's second summit with US President Donald Trump, which ended in failure in 2019 .

Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on a walk in the demilitarized zone, during the visit of the American president to North Korea, in 2019.

North Korea had offered to dismantle part of it, but not its other nuclear production infrastructure, in exchange for a partial lifting of economic sanctions. This offer had been rejected by Washington.

In August, Pyongyang, which this year conducted a record series of weapons tests, rejected an offer to x27;economic aid from South Korea, in exchange for its denuclearization.

The report, which incorporates all relevant information available to the agency, will be reviewed by the IAEA General Conference sometime in September.

The reclusive regime is under multiple international sanctions for its banned military, including nuclear, programs and which have made significant progress under Kim Jong-un's rule.

IAEA inspectors, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, have been expelled from North Korea in 2009. They now monitor it from abroad.

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