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The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency confirms traces of bomb-grade uranium in Iran

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The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed its discovery of traces of uranium enriched to 83.7% in Iran, which is hardly less than 90% as the minimum level for producing a nuclear bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report seen by AFP that “discussions are still ongoing” to determine the source of these particles.

Asked about the particles found in Iran, the government in Tehran said that “unintended fluctuations” during the enrichment process “may have occurred.”

In 2015, Iran reached an agreement with world powers to limit its uranium enrichment and allow IAEA inspectors to visit its nuclear sites, in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

But the deal fell through in 2018.

Iran is enriching uranium beyond the limits stipulated in the agreement and the International Atomic Energy Agency believes that its estimated stockpile is more than 18 times the limit stipulated in the agreement.

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency revealed that during an inspection “on January 22, 2023, the agency took environmental samples … at the Fordow (sic) plant, and the analytical results showed the presence of highly enriched uranium particles containing up to 83.7% of Uranium-235.”

“These events clearly indicate the Agency’s ability to timely detect and report on changes in the operation of Iran’s nuclear facilities,” the statement continued.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said in the report that Iran’s estimated stockpile of enriched uranium was more than 18 times the limit stipulated in the 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers.

The International Atomic Energy Agency estimated that Iran’s total stockpile of enriched uranium reached 3,760.8 kilograms (8,291 lb) as of February 12, an increase of 87.1 kilograms compared to the last report in November.

The limit was set in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal at 202.8 kilograms of uranium.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has also repeatedly warned that it has lost its ability to fully monitor Iran’s program since the country began restricting its access in February 2021.

The report stated that Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent has now reached 87.5 kilograms, up from 62.3 kilograms.

Iran currently has 434.7kg of uranium enriched to 20%, up from 386.4kg in the November report.

Tehran has long stressed that it is only interested in peaceful nuclear technology.

In 2015, Iran pledged to curb its nuclear program, which in return led to the lifting of Western sanctions. The goal of the agreement was to prevent Tehran from building nuclear weapons.

After the United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, Tehran responded by expanding uranium enrichment and limiting IAEA inspections.

Negotiations to revive the nuclear deal, in which Germany also participates, have stalled for months.

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