On February 10th, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had taken major steps toward the construction of atomic weapons, stressing that these violations of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are reversible.
Tehran demands from Washington to lift the sanctions against it, and salvage the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran Nuclear Deal), after the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew the US from the nuclear agreement in 2018.
Inspectors confirmed that Iran has produced a small amount of uranium metal, a component that can be used in a nuclear weapon the UN watchdog was cited by AP.
“Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today informed IAEA Member States about recent developments regarding Iran’s R&D activities on uranium metal production as part of its stated aim to produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor,” the report said.
According to the statement, Iran has produced 3.6 grams of uranium metal at its Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant (FPFP) in Esfahan.
Uranium metal is typically produced from a low-enriched uranium isotope mixture that remains after enrichment. This material can be used both as fuel for atomic reactors producing energy and for nuclear weapons, in particular in the shell of a nuclear warhead.
This is a breach of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Under it, Tehran is committed to not engaging in the production of uranium metal or conducting research and development on uranium metallurgy for 15 years.
Iran began to incrementally derogate from its obligations under the treaty.
It radically changed its approach in response to the assassination of Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh blamed on Israel and the US.
Tehran passed a law in December 2020 that includes increasing uranium enrichment and suspending UN inspections of its nuclear plants starting 21 February, if sanctions are not removed.
In addition, in January, Tehran announced its intention to conduct research related to the production of uranium metal, noting that it would be related to the development of an improved type of fuel for power plants.
This vow has provided a result now.
In a joint statement last month, European foreign ministers warned there was no credible civilian use for the material.
“The production of uranium metal has potentially grave military implications,” said the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany.
“We strongly urge Iran to halt this activity, and return to compliance with its JCPOA commitments without further delay if it is serious about preserving the deal,” said the ministers.
Seeking to increase pressure on the Biden administration, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned on February 10th that “the existing window is closing” for the US to adopt a “new approach” toward Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran’s intelligence minister warned Tehran could push for nuclear weapons if international sanctions on Tehran remain in place. The remarks by Mahmoud Alavi marked a rare occasion that a government official said Iran could move toward nuclear weapons, which Tehran has denied seeking.
Israeli officials haven’t made a mention yet, but they have vowed, more than once, that they would strike Iranian nuclear facilities if the US were to rejoin the deal, or Tehran moves towards producing a nuclear weapon.
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