Iran sparks nuclear fears as ‘near weapons-grade’ uranium found – dire warning issued

Iran carries out annual military exercises

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International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi has revealed that a letter from the IAEA has informed Tehran of his “deep concerns”.

The team believe nuclear material may have been present at locations where IARA workers struggled to gain access.

The IAEA has issued a second quarterly report on Iran, including on the traces of uranium at several former sites.

They say the stock of enriched uranium includes an estimated 17.7kg of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) enriched up to 60 percent purity.

This is said to be “near weapons-grade”.

The report also states there was an estimated 113.8kg of UF6 enriched up to 20 percent purity.

The UN nuclear watchdog claims it has still not had access to re-install surveillance cameras at the TESA Karaj centrifuge-parts workshop in Iran.

IAEA inspectors reported being continued to be “subjected to excessively invasive physical searches by security officials at nuclear facilities in Iran”.

Mr Grossi will visit Tehran on Monday.

It comes just before next week’s meeting of the IAEA 35-nation Board of Governors.

Under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that saw sanctions lifted in exchange for monitoring of strict limits on nuclear enrichment and development.

The arrangement continued despite the collapse of the deal in 2018 when then-president Donald Trump withdrew America.

But, in June 2020, Iran said the cameras had been destroyed in what it said was a sabotage incident.

In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had boosted its stocks of uranium enriched above the percentage allowed in the 2015 deal, 3.67%.

In May, the IAEA said its analysis of a sample taken from an Iranian facility in mid-April, “shows an enrichment level consistent with that declared by Iran.”

Iranian officials said in April that they’d taken the significant step toward obtaining weapons-grade uranium by enriching up to 60 percent purity.

Weapons-grade is normally classed as above 90 percent enrichment, but the 60 percent recorded today reduces the time Iran would need to make a bomb.

That’s something Tehran vehemently insists it doesn’t want to do, maintaining that its nuclear program is for entirely peaceful, civilian purposes.

The US, Israel and other allied nations don’t believe that.

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