Us eyes reports Iran has increased uranium enrichment

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By Creative Media News

  • Iran denies new actions
  • US expresses concern about Iran’s uranium production
  • IAEA report notes acceleration

The United States has expressed concern about reports of Iran increasing the production of uranium suitable for use in nuclear weapons. A National Security Council spokesperson for the White House issued the remarks late on Tuesday in response to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report warning that Tehran has accelerated production of the high-grade material.

The US spokesperson added that Iran-backed proxies continue their dangerous and destabilizing activities in the region, including recent deadly drone attacks and other attempted attacks in Iraq and Syria, as well as Houthi attacks against commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea, which makes the country’s nuclear escalation even more worrisome.

According to a report to member states from the United Nations atomic watchdog, Iran has resumed the production of near-weapons-grade uranium in recent weeks, reversing a previous decline that began in the middle of 2023.

In the past, Iran implemented a reduction in the rate of uranium enrichment, involving increasing the concentration of uranium-235, the isotope used in nuclear fission, to 60% purity. Uranium enriched to 60 percent is in close proximity to levels of 90 percent suitable for weapons purposes, while nuclear power plants have a 3.67 percent requirement.

Inspectors of the IAEA confirmed that production at facilities in Natanz and Fordow had increased to approximately 9kg (20lb) per month since the end of November, the same level of output that Iran maintained throughout the first half of 2023, with the exception of a decline to 3kg (6.6lb) per month in June.

Iran’s Atomic Energy Chief Denies Breach of Rules amid Concerns

On Wednesday, Iran’s atomic energy chief refuted the concern, stating that the country is operating “in accordance with the rules” and has not undertaken any “novel actions.”

Iranian media reported that Mohammad Eslami, Iran’s atomic energy chief, disregarded the IAEA warnings on Wednesday, saying, “We maintained the same activities in accordance with the rules and did nothing new.”

Officials from Iran have maintained a steadfast stance that they do not possess any intentions or plans to develop nuclear weapons.

Elevated anxiety arose as it appeared that Iran temporarily halted its enrichment program earlier this year in observance of the resumption of informal nuclear treaty negotiations with the United States. However, the Israel-Gaza conflict exacerbated tensions between the United States and Iran.

Iran’s estimated stockpile of enriched uranium has surpassed 22 times the limit established in a 2015 accord between Tehran and world powers, according to a confidential report published by the IAEA last month. The report noted that Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile was valued at 4,486.8kg (9,891.7lb) as of October 28, representing an increase of 693.1kg (1,528lb) since August. The restriction outlined in the 2015 agreement was 202.8kg (447lb).

It’s crucial to note that the 2015 accord came to an end in 2018 when then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States. President Joe Biden has made efforts to reestablish the accord via negotiations in Vienna; however, progress has been stagnant since the summer of 2022.

Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel did not contribute to the escalating hostility; Iran had already extended its support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The IAEA lodged a complaint in September regarding Tehran’s apparent obstruction of access for some of its most seasoned inspectors to observe the nation’s nuclear program.

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