The UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced Monday that it estimates Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium has grown to more than 18 times limits put in place by the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal with world powers, brokered under Obama.
This includes uranium enriched up to 20%, with the IAEA in a fresh report saying its monitors "estimated that, as of May 15, 2022, Iran’s total enriched stockpile was 3,809.3 kilograms." The 2015 deal set the ceiling at 300 kilograms. Further the deal, which the US pulled out of in 2018 under the Trump administration, puts enrichment levels at 3.67%.
The report further indicates the amount enriched to 60% is now at 43.1 kilograms. To be considered weapons grade, Iran would have to enrich to about 90%.
But Tehran has long argued that it's none other than Washington which unilaterally pulled out of the deal, that Iran has held up its end of the bargain. Further Iranian officials argue that its the US side holding up a finalized restored JCPOA. According to the latest statements from Tehran featured in state media:
The US shows no action vis-a-vis Vienna talks, Amir Abdollahian said in a meeting with his Finnish counterpart Pekka Olavi Haavisto on Sunday.
He stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran is quite serious in reaching a good, strong and sustainable agreement in Vienna.
Earlier this month, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani pointed out that the US must urgently drop anti-Iran sanctions if its hopes to finally secure a deal. "The Vienna talks have reached a stage where the knot can only be untied through the adherence of the violator party to Iran's logical and principled approaches,” he said.
"The US, by breach of promise, and Europe, by inaction, scuttled the opportunity to benefit from Iran's proven goodwill. If they have the will to return, we are ready and an agreement is within reach," Skamkhani added.
But recently, the IAEA has voiced that it's "extremely concerned" about lack of Iranian communication over possible undeclared nuclear sites:
"I am referring to the fact that we, in the last few months, were able to identify traces of enriched uranium in places that had never been declared by Iran as places where any activity was taking place," IAEA head Rafael Grossi told a European Parliament Committee.
"The situation does not look very good. Iran, for the time being, has not been forthcoming in the kind of information we need from them… We are extremely concerned about this," Grossi continued.
Last week, the Israelis presented what they say is evidence proving a calculated inspections evasion process on the part of the Iranians. A major investigative report in The Wall Street Journal alleges that Iran has been covering up its nuclear weapons aspirations for years by allegedly falsifying a document trail with an eye toward covering up past work on a hidden nuclear weapons program…
"Iran secured access to secret United Nations atomic agency reports almost two decades ago and circulated the documents among top officials who prepared cover stories and falsified a record to conceal suspected past work on nuclear weapons, according to Middle East intelligence officials and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal."
The records were reportedly obtained from a 2018 covert Israeli intelligence raid on a facility said to contain documented evidence of an alleged ongoing nuclear program, which the Israelis have since handed on to the US for its review. Israel's leaders are now using the document trove to accuse Iran before a world audience:
Iran stole classified documents from the UN’s Atomic Agency @IAEAorg and used that information to systematically evade nuclear probes.
How do we know?
Because we got our hands on Iran’s deception plan.
— Naftali Bennett ??? (@naftalibennett) May 31, 2022
It should be noted, however, that these bombshell charges should be evaluated with relevant skepticism and a big grain of salt, given the 'evidence' originated with a foreign intelligence service which is Iran's longtime bitter enemy.