HomeTop StoriesThe UN reports that Iran's nuclear program is still growing and out...

The UN reports that Iran’s nuclear program is still growing and out of sight

United Nations – “No progress.” That is the latest assessment from the United Nations nuclear watchdog organization of international efforts to monitor and verify Iran’s nuclear program.

The work of the global body, emerging from the now-defunct 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), regarding “verification and monitoring has been seriously affected by Iran’s decision to stop fulfilling its nuclear obligations under the JCPOA,” one of the two reports dated Sept. 4 said.

The as-yet-unpublished quarterly reports obtained by CBS News on Iran’s nuclear progress say the “situation was exacerbated by Iran’s subsequent decision to remove all JCPOA-related surveillance equipment from the Agency.”

“The IAEA Directors-General reports published on Iran show once again that Iran is not meeting the demands of the international community,” Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told CBS News, adding added: “no further installation of new cameras at its nuclear facilities. no access to the cameras.”

“The most dangerous regime in the world is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities and this serious threat should have been addressed by the Security Council long ago… We must act before it is too late,” said Israel’s UN envoy.

The IAEA’s talks with Iran about reinstalling surveillance cameras at the country’s nuclear facilities and answering questions about traces of uranium previously found at some of the sites have yielded no results, leading to Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi has reported to the Agency’s Board of Directors that he “regrets that no progress has been made.”

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The updates on Iran will be presented at a press conference on the first day of the next IAEA board meeting of 35 countries on Sept. 11, agency spokesman Fredrik Dahl told CBS News Monday — about a week before Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called the meeting. will attend. UN General Assembly in New York on September 19.

In an agreement reached between Grossi and Iranian officials six months ago, Iran agreed “on a voluntary basis” to “carry out further appropriate verification and monitoring,” but the IAEA’s subsequent May report said it ” had not had access to the collected data and recordings’. due to its monitoring equipment being used to monitor centrifuges and associated infrastructure in storage, and no such monitoring has taken place since June 10, 2022, when this equipment was removed.”

The IAEA reported some limited progress in oversight in May, but not as required under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, which effectively fell apart despite efforts by European leaders to salvage it after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew. of the 2018 agreement.

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According to the IAEA, it belongs to Iran enrichment of uranium to 60% purity has continued and is expected to decrease from nearly 20 kilograms per month to about 6.5 in the period since the last report was released in May. Some Western diplomats view this as a small concession from Iran, as inspectors said Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium grew 7% over the past quarter, compared to 30% in the previous quarter.

The US and some of its allies have long believed that Iran is trying to cover up clandestine work on a nuclear weapons program, although the Islamic Republic has always denied this. Although 60% enriched uranium is not considered weapon-grade, it is technically a relatively short step away from the purity level required for nuclear weapons.

This file photo, released on November 5, 2019 by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, shows centrifuge machines at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in central Iran. / Credit: Iran Atomic Energy Agency via AP

“Technically, a 60% slowdown won’t do much to ease concerns about non-proliferation,” Dr. Ali Vaez, director of the Iran Project and senior adviser to the president of the think tank The Crisis Group, told CBS News. Monday. Iran still has enough fissile material for several weapons if enriched to weapons grade. Breakout time [to hypothetically launch a weapons program] remains virtually nil. The IAEA’s access remains limited, and security issues remain unresolved.”

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However, Vaez added that Iran’s delay in its high-enrichment program could still have some significance.

“As a diplomatic signal, this would be the first real indication of any degree of slowdown on Tehran’s side after several years of continued expansion,” he told CBS News.

The two latest IAEA reports will be published at a difficult time for US negotiators, who have been negotiating a prisoner exchange and about discussions about the release of billions of dollars in Iranian assets that have been foreclosed by the US government. It also comes after top US negotiator Rob Malley resigned from his position.

Western powers argue that regardless of any further delay in highly enriched uranium production, Iran comes too close for comfort to the theoretical ability to produce nuclear weapons. According to the IAEA’s previous report in May, Iran’s existing stockpile of uranium, if further enriched to weapons-grade quality, would be sufficient to produce two nuclear bombs.

In unusually stern terms, the new IAEA reports say that Iran’s decision to remove all of the agency’s monitoring equipment “has adversely affected the agency’s ability to provide assurance about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”

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