Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaks at a news briefing in Okuma, northeastern Japan, Wednesday, July 5, 2023.

IAEA Says Iran 'Very Close' To Weapons Grade Uranium

Wednesday, 01/17/2024

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has said Iran is "very close to weapons grade" uranium as it continues rapid enrichment.

Grossi emphasized the imperative for Tehran to adhere to the nuclear proliferation treaty, telling The National newspaper, “Iran is the only non-nuclear weapon state which is enriching uranium at this very, very high level".

Trying to calm fears, he added, “I'm not saying they have a nuclear weapon, I'm saying this is sensitive. And when you're doing that … you abide by the rules".

The latest IAEA report disclosed that Iran has escalated its production of near weapons-grade uranium, reversing a slowdown initiated in mid-2023. Grossi linked Iran's intensified pursuit of high-grade uranium to escalating tensions in the Middle East, fueled by the Gaza conflict and the Iran-backed Houthi militia's attacks in Yemen, creating a shipping and security crisis in the Red Sea.

He said, “A snapshot shows a program which is galloping ahead, moving ahead with ambitious goals. We have nothing against that. But we say the visibility of the international inspectorate, the IAEA, must be commensurate with those activities.”

Western powers allege that Tehran's objective is to acquire nuclear weapons for threatening its adversaries, but the Islamic Republic claims its program is for civilian use.

Grossi argued that whether Iran's nuclear program is intended for civilian use or not, it is failing to fulfill its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

France, Germany, and Britain, signatories to the JCPOA, have also expressed concern, issuing a statement in December about Iran revoking authorization for inspectors critical of its nuclear dossier. Iran confirmed the activities of 127 inspectors but barred "three or four biased European inspectors" from continuing their activities at Iranian sites, as announced by the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran on October 4.

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