In a confidential report, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi criticized Iran's decision to withdraw accreditation from eight top inspectors, including French and German nationals. He deemed the move "extreme and unjustified." This move, announced in September, is seen as a response to perceived "political abuses" by the U.S., France, Germany and Britain.
The IAEA highlighted the significant negative impact on its ability to monitor Iran's nuclear program. Its latest report underscores the unprecedented nature of Iran's actions, with Grossi stating that it is "unambiguously contrary to the cooperation that is required" from nations involved in nuclear activities.
The refusal to accredit inspectors complicates the IAEA's mission and raises questions about Iran's commitment to international cooperation in monitoring its nuclear program. The diplomatic fallout adds to existing tensions between Iran and key world powers.
Tehran reiterated its position in a letter, asserting its right to withdraw accreditation while expressing a willingness to explore possibilities to address the IAEA's request for reinstatement.
The standoff reflects the broader challenges faced by international organizations when seeking cooperation from nations involved in sensitive nuclear activities. It also emphasizes the importance of maintaining transparent and collaborative efforts to address global security concerns.
The inspectors' withdrawal is not an isolated incident but part of a larger geopolitical context surrounding Iran's nuclear ambitions. The IAEA has a longstanding role in monitoring Iran's nuclear activities amid suspicions from Western nations about the country's intentions to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran consistently denies any plans for nuclear weapons, emphasizing the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. But in one confidential IAEA report, it was learned that Iran has enough uranium enriched up to 60 percent, close to weapons-grade, for three atomic bombs.
Iran's stock of uranium enriched grew by 6.7 kilograms (14.8 pounds) to 128.3 kg (282.9 lbs) since the last report on Sept. 4, according to Reuters. That is more than three times the roughly 42 kg (92.6 lbs) that, by the IAEA definition, is theoretically enough for a nuclear bomb if enriched further. (Related: Thanks, Obama: U.S. defense official declares Iran can construct a nuclear bomb ‘in about 12 days.’)
"That's quite an amount, especially if you don't use it for anything," a senior diplomat told Reuters, referring to the fact Iran is the only country to enrich such a high level without producing nuclear weapons.
Additionally, the report revealed that Iran's estimated stockpile of enriched uranium had exceeded 22 times the limit set in the 2015 accord between Tehran and world powers. As of Oct. 28, Iran's total enriched uranium stockpile was estimated at 4,486.8 kg (9,891.7 lb), a significant increase from August.
The 2015 deal aimed to curb Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
The development raises concerns about Iran's adherence to the terms of the nuclear deal, especially as tensions persist with major world powers.
The unraveling of the 2015 deal began in 2018 when then-U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it and reimposed sanctions. Iran responded by intensifying its nuclear activities, leading to a renewed focus on the country's nuclear ambitions.
Efforts to revive the nuclear deal through European Union-mediated negotiations have faced challenges, reflecting the complex geopolitical landscape surrounding Iran's nuclear activities.
The IAEA's hope for a prompt resolution of the inspectors' withdrawal underscores the urgency of addressing issues related to Iran's nuclear program to maintain international stability and security. The diplomatic intricacies involved highlight the delicate balance required to navigate such critical matters on the global stage.
Watch former National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow discuss whether President Joe Biden's policies have emboldened Iran.
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