Iran further increases its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels

Iran’s supreme ruler is leading the effort, and it’s unlikely that anything will change following last week’s helicopter accident in which Iran’s President and Foreign Minister were killed.

According to a confidential report released by the United Nations nuclear watchdog on Monday, Iran has increased its stockpiles of uranium that is enriched near weapons grade levels. This is the latest attempt by Tehran to exert constant pressure on the international communities.

Iran wants to have the economic sanctions over its controversial nuclear program removed in exchange for a slowdown. All of this is under the direction of Iran’s Supreme Leader and will likely not change following last week’s helicopter accident that killed Iran’s President and Foreign Minister.

The Associated Press reported that Iran has now 142.1 kilograms (313.25 pounds) of uranium enriched to 60 percent. This is an increase of 20.66 kilograms (45.4 lbs) from the previous report of the watchdog, in February. Uranium that is 60 percent pure is only a small technical step from 90 percent weapons grade uranium.


The report states that Iran’s total stockpiles of enriched Uranium currently stand at 6201.3 kg (13671.5 lbs), an increase of 675.8 kg (1489.8 lbs) since the previous report by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA defines that a theoretical atomic bomb can be created with uranium at 60 percent enrichment. This is possible if it is further enriched up to 90 percent.

Iran maintains its nuclear program as peaceful. However, the IAEA’s chief, Rafael Mariano Grossi has warned that Tehran possesses enough uranium at near-weapon-grade enrichment levels to build “several” bombs, if they chose to. He acknowledged that the agency could not guarantee that Iran’s centrifuges had not been removed for clandestine uranium enrichment.

Grossi acknowledged that the agency could not guarantee that no centrifuges in Iran had been removed for clandestine enrichment.

Since 2018, tensions between Iran and IAEA have increased since then-President Donald Trump unilaterally retracted the United States’ commitment to the nuclear deal that Tehran had signed with the world powers. Iran has since abandoned the limits that the nuclear deal placed on its program, and accelerated enrichment.

Iran’s original nuclear agreement with the world powers allowed it to enrich uranium up to 3.67 per cent purity. It was also allowed to maintain a stockpile weighing about 300 kilograms, and to use only the very basic IR-1 Centrifuges, machines that spin uranium at high speeds for enrichment.

In order to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons, the world’s powers reached a deal in 2015 with Tehran under which Tehran agreed to limit uranium enrichment to levels required for nuclear power as a trade-off for the lifting economic sanctions. U.N. inspectors had been tasked to monitor the program.

The IAEA’s latest report said that Tehran had not changed its decision from September 2023 to prevent nuclear inspectors from monitoring the country’s nuclear program. It also added that the agency expects Iran to “do so within the context of ongoing consultations” between the IAEA and Iran.

Grossi, according to the report “deeply regrets the decision of Iran to bar inspectors.” A reversal is “essential” to allow the agency to carry out its verification activities effectively in Iran.

The IAEA also stated that the deaths in Iran of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Ministry Hossein Amirabdollahian prompted a pause to the IAEA’s discussions with Tehran about improving cooperation.

The report stated that Iran suggested that the IAEA-Iran cooperation discussions “be continued at Tehran on a mutually agreed date”.

Iran and IAEA continue to negotiate over the implementation of a deal reached last year for the expansion of inspections on the Islamic Republic’s rapidly developing atomic program.

Iran still has not responded to IAEA investigations that have lasted for years about the origins and locations of the manmade uranium found in two locations, Varamin & Turquzabad. Tehran has also failed to declare these sites as possible nuclear sites.

The report stated that the IAEA request must be met, otherwise it “will not have the ability to confirm the accuracy and completeness of Iran’s declarations under the agreement.”

In the report, it was also stated that there had been no progress in reinstalling additional monitoring equipment including cameras removed in June of 2022. Since then, only one set of data has been recorded: the data from IAEA cameras that were installed in a centrifuge factory in Isfahan city in May 2023. However, Iran did not provide the IAEA access to these data.

IAEA said that after a delay of April, IAEA inspectors successfully serviced the cameras in the workshops in Isfahan on May 21. The data they collected since December 2023 was placed under separate Agency Seals and Iranian seals in the locations.