Iran’s stockpile of near-weapons-grade enriched uranium continues to grow, albeit at a slightly slower pace, according to confidential United Nations (U.N.) reports assessed by Reuters on Monday.
There has been “no progress” made with Tehran in addressing key issues with its nuclear program, including an explanation as to why traces of uranium were detected at undeclared sites, according to one of the U.N.’s reports, Reuters reported.
The U.S. previously pulled out of an agreement signed in 2015 that limited Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, a deal that the Biden administration has failed to renegotiate.
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“The (IAEA) Director General regrets that there has been no progress in resolving the outstanding safeguards issues in this reporting period,” one report read, in reference to uranium detected at two undeclared sites, according to Reuters.
Iran has roughly 268 pounds of uranium that have been enriched to 60%, indicating that the country’s fuel buildup is still growing at a slightly slower pace, according to the Associated Press. Iran’s stockpile was just over 250 pounds in May, and 192 pounds in February.
Uranium enriched at a level of 60% is not far off from reaching full weapons-grade potential of 90%, according to Reuters. Iran has obtained enough pure uranium to build two nuclear weapons since the nullification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) – informally known as the Iran nuclear deal – that was signed in 2015 by the Obama administration.
Former President Trump pulled out of the JCPOA and instead imposed sanctions against Iran in 2018, citing concerns that the deal contained too many exemptions and had a “sunset clause” that would have allowed Iran to restart its nuclear program in 2025. The Biden administration has failed to strike a new deal with Iran, despite multiple efforts to do so since President Joe Biden took office in 2021.
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The report comes amid recent negotiation efforts by the United States to curb tensions with Iran, including a deal that saw the release of five American prisoners in exchange for $6 billion in seized Iranian oil assets. The Biden administration has implored Iran to stop enriching uranium beyond its existing 60% stockpile.
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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