Iranian Nuclear: IAEA Says It Has Detected 83.7% Enriched Uranium Particles
The IAEA has detected particles of 83.7% enriched uranium in Iran, just below the 90% needed to produce a bomb atomic. However, the UN organization cannot say at this stage whether this threshold was reached accidentally or voluntarily.
These particles were discovered following the collection of samples in January in the underground factory of Fordo, specified the UN body in a report consulted Tuesday by AFP, which confirms as well as information given by diplomatic sources.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has requested clarifications and discussions are still ongoing to determine the origin, adds the text that will be presented next week at the Board of Governors in Vienna.
Iran, which denies wanting to acquire atomic weapons, has for its part reported involuntary fluctuations during the enrichment process, in a letter quoted by the IAEA.
Last week, Tehran claimed that it had made no attempt to enrich beyond 60%. The presence of particles beyond 60% does not mean that there is enrichment (of x27;uranium) to more than 60%, reacted the spokesperson for the Iranian Nuclear Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi.
This information comes as IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi is expected in Iran in the coming days amid deteriorating relations.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi
In retaliation for the American withdrawal from the agreement, the Islamic Republic severely limited inspections and disconnected cameras from surveillance last year, throwing the Agency into limbo.
And this even as negotiations aimed at reviving the agreement reached in 2015 to limit Iran's atomic activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions have stalled since the summer. 2022.
They had started in April 2021 in Vienna between Tehran and the great powers, but they have been blocked since August 2022 in a context of growing tensions.
The agreement, known as the JCPOA, has been moribund since President Donald Trump's 2018 US withdrawal.
The Islamic Republic gradually freed itself from its commitments.
Its total stock of enriched uranium thus amounted to 3760.8 kg at the date of February 12 (compared to 3673.7 kg in October), more than 18 times the limit authorized by the JCPOA, according to calculations by the IAEA.
Especially Iran is always enriching at high levels, far from the limit set at 3.67%. He thus has 434.7 kg at 20% (compared to 386.4 kg previously) and 87.5 kg at 60% (compared to 62.3 kg).
As for the 83.7% detection rate, even if it is accidental, it is no less concerning, says Kelsey Davenport, expert at Arms Control Association.
This should be a wake-up call for the international community, she said in a recent online briefing, calling on states States and Iran to define a new strategy to defuse the crisis.
Demonstration on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran, where prototype missiles are displayed in the streets of Tehran.
The head of the CIA, William Burns, expressed concern on Sunday about the meteoric advance of the Iranian nuclear program, judging that they would only need a few weeks to reach 90%, if they decide to cross that line.
There are other levels to reach, however, and the United States does not believe that the supreme leader in Iran took the decision to resume the militarization of the program suspended or terminated at the end of 2003.
In this same interview broadcast on the CBS channel, the head of American intelligence x27;was also alarmed at a dangerous escalation in the military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.