09/08/2021, 10.30
IRAN - UN
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Tehran increases enriched uranium stocks, violating IAEA deal

For UN experts, Tehran has raised "significantly" the quantities of uranium to 60%. Criticism of "obstacles" to monitoring activities, while security issues remain "unresolved". Israel reinforces plans for an attack and seeks to "minimize" the Iranian presence in the region. 

 

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Iran has significantly increased the amount of highly enriched uranium in recent months in violation of its commitments under the 2015 agreement (Jcpoa), which restricts nuclear activities in exchange for the easing of sanctions.

This is what emerges from a double report published yesterday by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), updated at the end of August. The reserves of uranium enriched to 60% have exceeded 3.67%, rising to 10 kg from 2.4 kg in May; uranium at 20% has increased from 62.8 kg to the current 83.4 kg. 

The UN body also had harsh criticism for the leadership of the Islamic Republic for hindering an investigation on past activities and jeopardizing important monitoring activities, complicating the resumption of talks. At the heart of the experts' accusations is the failure to explain the discovery of traces of uranium in several old and undeclared sites; this is coupled with the request for urgent access to some monitoring equipment, to keep track of ongoing activities. 

One of the two reports analyzed by Reuters states that "The Agency's confidence that it can maintain continuity of knowledge is declining over time and has now significantly further declined," adding that while the agency needs to access the equipment every three months, it had not had access since May 25. "This confidence will continue to decline unless the situation is immediately rectified by Iran."

"The Director General is increasingly concerned that even after some two years the safeguards issues outlined above in relation to the four locations in Iran not declared to the Agency remain unresolved," the second of the reports said

Over the past two years, Tehran progressively violated the terms of the pact by easing restrictions on nuclear activities. The first steps in this direction date back to 2019, in response to the May 2018 withdrawal by the then US President Donald Trump from the JCPOA and the reintroduction of the toughest sanctions in history, causing a collapse of the Iranian economy. The temporary agreement expired on June 24 and international diplomats have been working on a new nuclear deal. However, the aftermath of the presidential elections that saw the victory of the ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi raises fears of a definitive collapse of the talks. 

Meanwhile Israel is strengthening the plans of a possible attack against Iran and that, in the last phase, have undergone a "strong acceleration". The confirmation comes from General Aviv Kohavi, Chief of Staff of the Defense Forces, who pointed out that "a significant portion of the increases reserved for the defense budget, as agreed recently, was intended precisely for this purpose. The senior military officer then added that efforts are underway throughout the Middle East to control Iran's allies. The goal, the general concluded, is to "minimize the Iranian presence" in the region, with a particular focus on Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah. 

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