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Nuclear watchdog: Iran uranium stockpile at 10 times more than nuke deal limit

UN inspectors gain access to one of two sites where undeclared nuclear activity may have taken place in the early 2000s; second site to be inspected later this month

In this photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran on November 6, 2019, a forklift carries a cylinder containing uranium hexafluoride gas for the purpose of injecting the gas into centrifuges in Iran's Fordo nuclear facility. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)
In this photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran on November 6, 2019, a forklift carries a cylinder containing uranium hexafluoride gas for the purpose of injecting the gas into centrifuges in Iran's Fordo nuclear facility. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

VIENNA, Austria — The UN’s nuclear watchdog said Friday that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium now stands at more than ten times the limit set down in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The limit was set at 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of enriched uranium in a particular compound form, which is the equivalent of 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds) of uranium.

Measured against the latter figure, Iran’s stockpile now stands at over 2,105 kg (2.32 tons,) up from 1,571.6 kilograms (1.73 tons) last reported on May 20, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported Friday in a confidential document distributed to member countries.

Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

The IAEA reported that Iran has also been continuing to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 4.5%, higher than the 3.67% allowed under the JCPOA. It said Iran’s stockpiles of heavy water has decreased and is now back within the JCPOA limits.

Meanwhile, in a separate report, the IAEA said that Iran had granted its inspectors access to one of two sites where undeclared nuclear activity may have taken place in the early 2000s.

“Iran provided Agency inspectors access to the location to take environmental samples,” an IAEA report seen by AFP said.

“The samples will be analyzed by laboratories that are part of the agency’s network,” it added.

An inspection at the second site will take place “later in September 2020 on a date already agreed with Iran,” the report said.

Iran announced last week it would allow the IAEA access to the two sites, following a visit to Tehran by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani, right, welcomes Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi for their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

Iran had denied the agency access earlier this year, prompting the IAEA’s board of governors to pass a resolution in June urging Iran to comply with its requests.

The nuclear deal promised Iran economic incentives in return for the curbs on its nuclear program. President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal unilaterally in 2018, saying it needed to be renegotiated. Iran has since slowly violated the restrictions to try and pressure the remaining nations to increase the incentives to offset new, economy-crippling US sanctions.

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