IAEA chief calls Iran's nuclear program

IAEA chief calls Iran’s nuclear program “very worrying”

The head of the United Nations nuclear regulatory agency called Iran’s uranium enrichment program “very worrying” in an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday.

Iran was enriching uranium to purity levels “only achieved by countries that make bombs,” Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the newspaper.

His comments come as Iran and the world powers negotiate in Vienna the measures that Tehran and Washington must adopt in terms of sanctions and nuclear activities to fully comply with their 2015 pact with world powers.

The United States withdrew from the accord in 2018, prompting Iran to constantly exceed the limits set on its nuclear program, designed to make it difficult to develop an atomic bomb, an ambition Tehran denies.

“A country that enriches 60 percent is something very serious: only countries that make bombs reach that level,” Grossi told the newspaper. “Sixty percent is almost weapons-grade, commercial enrichment is 2.3 (percent).”

He added that Iran has a “sovereign right” to develop its program, but noted: “It is a degree that requires a watchful eye.”

Grossi argued that most of the measures Iran has taken could be reversed relatively easily, but stressed that the level of research and development that had taken place was a problem.

“You can’t put the genie back in the bottle: once you know how to do things, you know, and the only way to prove it is by verification,” he said.

“The Iranian program has grown, it has become more sophisticated, so a linear return to 2015 is no longer possible. What can be done is to keep its activities below the 2015 parameters.”

Ben Oakley
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