Iran

UN: Iran Set to Exceed Nuke Deal Enrichment Limits

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has warned that unless Iran slows down the pace at which it is enriching uranium, it will exceed the limits that the nuclear deal set on its possession of the material, senior diplomats told the Associated Press on Monday.

While the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN body charged with monitoring Iran’s compliance with the deal, said that Iran is abiding by its uranium enrichment obligations, the two diplomats revealed that the IAEA “warned Tehran that unless it slows the process it could soon bust through its cap on material that could be used to make a bomb,” the AP reported.

The diplomats, whose primary focus is Iran’s nuclear program, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity since they are not permitted to discuss confidential exchanges between the IAEA and Iran.

Following talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the weekend, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium is within limits “for now.” Under the terms of the deal, Iran can not possess more than 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of low-enriched uranium.

Since the deal was implemented in January, Iran has twice breached caps on its stockpile of heavy water, which is used to cool reactors in the production of plutonium. Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director-general of the IAEA, wrote that Iran’s repeated violations demonstrated “disrespect for the nuclear terms of the agreement.”

Last week, Rouhani ordered his country’s atomic energy agency to begin looking into ways to develop nuclear powered submarines, which would likely require enriching uranium to 20 percent. This would violate the terms of the deal, which limits Iran’s enrichment of uranium to 3.67 percent.

[Photo: IAEA Imagebank / Flickr ]