IAEA says Iran producing more enriched uranium

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, said Iran has followed through on its threat to produce higher quantities of enriched uranium.

Amano confirmed in a press conference yesterday that Iran’s production rate is increasing but he did not provide details about the extent of the increase. He added that it was not the IAEA’s responsibility to determine whether Iran was violating the JCPOA — only whether it was in compliance.

Amano also said he was: “Worried about increasing tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue”. He hoped: “That ways can be found to reduce the current tensions through dialogue. It is essential that Iran fully implements its nuclear-related commitments” under the deal.

Last month Iran announced that it would suspend some of its commitments under the JCPOA in retaliation for the US reimposing sanctions after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018. This includes no longer complying with caps on its stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water – set at 300kg and 130 tonnes respectively – including by quadrupling its production of low-enriched uranium.

The JCPOA caps uranium enrichment levels at 3.67 per cent. It is not clear whether Iran intends to increase the level of enrichment, as well as the size of its stockpile.

Iran‘s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met German Foreign Minister, Heiko Mass, yesterday in Tehran. Zarif responded to what he said were threats by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to destroy Iran: “No one can act against our people without receiving a decisive response… if any country starts a war on Iran, it would definitely not be the one that ends it.”

Heiko Mass said: “Israel’s right to exist is part of Germany’s founding principle and is completely non-negotiable.  It is a result of our history and it’s irrevocable and doesn’t just change because I am currently in Tehran.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Zarif is lying again. Iran is the one that openly threatens, every day, to destroy the State of Israel. Iran continues to entrench itself militarily in Syria. And today, the IAEA reports that Iran is accelerating its nuclear programme.  I repeat: Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that threaten our existence and endanger the entire world.”