For years, the United States has focused on limiting the amount of Uranium Iran is able to process to prevent the Islamic Empire from building a nuclear bomb. According to a new report, those efforts have failed.
Iran has accumulated enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb, according to new findings from the United Nations atomic agency.
The International Atomic Energy Agency also said in a separate report that Iran has failed to provide credible explanations about nuclear material found at several sites in recent years, raising questions about the nature of its nuclear work.
The IAEA’s two reports could set the stage for a showdown at a meeting next week of its 35-nation board of governors, as Iran has demanded the watchdog wrap up its probe into uranium particles found at three undeclared locations in the country since 2019.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog said that Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent had grown to 43.3 kilograms (95 pounds), which represented an increase of nearly 10 kilograms (22 pounds)compared to three months ago.
Experts said that the stockpile would provide roughly enough material for an atomic bomb if Iran took the additional step of enrichingthe uranium to 90 percent purity. Moving from 60 to 90 percent would not pose a technical challenge for Iran, according to arms control experts.
“Iran has now accumulated enough enriched uranium to be able to quickly produce more than a significant quantity of HEU (highly enriched uranium) for one bomb,” said Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association think tank. “The time it would take them to do that can now be measured in days, not months or weeks.”
The IAEA’s findings were sent to the agency’s members and obtained by NBC News and other news outlets.
The U.N. reports came as international talks aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran have stalled. The accord imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions. But then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions.
Iran has since steadily blown past the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear activity, including limits on its use of advanced centrifuges and its stockpile of uranium.
The negotiations between world powers and Iran to salvage the 2015 deal have become bogged down over a demand by Tehran for the U.S. to lift sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Trump placed the organization on a terrorism blacklist.