Expressing alarm over the nuclear program being carried out by the Iranian government, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency spelled out why he was so concerned in an interview with the Financial Times this week.
The situation was “very concerning”, said the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi in the interview to the newspaper which was published on Wednesday.
An agreement to expand a monitoring program of Iran’s nuclear program by a month was reached earlier this week between Iran and the United Nations nuclear watchdog.
The comments made by Grossi come at a time when the tensions between Iran and the world powers that signed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal has heightened with talks between the parties of the agreement to revive the deal are on-going,
“A country enriching at 60 percent is a very serious thing — only countries making bombs are reaching this level,” Grossi told the FT.
“Sixty percent is almost weapons grade, commercial enrichment is 2, 3 [percent].”
Iran has repeatedly said that its nuclear program is for civilian energy purposes only.
While Grossi said that the extent to which Iran decides to develop its nuclear program was the country’s “sovereign right”, he also added: “This is a degree that requires a vigilant eye.”
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal – as the agreement was popularly called, essentially was designed to place curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the signing countries lifting several economic sanctions imposed on the country. However there were allegations that Iran has been gradually increasing its stockpile and enrichment of uranium and gradually breached the 2015 accord.
According to reports, Iran has started to ramp up its Uranium stocks starting in May 2019, a year after the former United States president Donald Trump had pulled the US out of the multilateral Iran nuclear deal over charges that Iran was constantly breaching the deal and had imposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran aimed at crippling the Iranian economy and starve the country of funds to finance its nuclear program.
According to reports, Iran is currently enriching its Uranium reserves to 60 per cent purity which is dramatically higher than the 3.67 per cent enrichment level that was fixed according to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. Uranium is required to be enriched to 90 per cent to be usable in making nuclear bombs.
Iran has however continued to argue that its uranium enrichment program is aimed for peaceful purposes.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)