IAEA highlights irregularities and says it is “concerned” by undeclared sites

Iran’s nuclear energy is at the heart of global concerns on Monday, May 31, when a new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) highlights a number of irregularities. The country thus accounts for a quantity of low-enriched uranium nearly sixteen times greater than the limit authorized by the 2015 agreement. It now reaches 3,241 kilograms – for a ceiling set at 202.8 kilograms – according to an estimate, the IAEA having explained that it had not been able to verify the total because of the restrictions decided by Tehran. In the agency’s previous report, from February, this stock was 2,967.8 kilograms.

In addition, the report also denounces the existence of several undeclared Iranian sites, about which Iran has not been able to provide explanations for the traces of transformed uranium detected by the agency.

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Negotiations underway in Vienna

Three months ago, France, Germany and the United Kingdom gave up supporting a resolution promoted by the United States which criticized the lack of explanations from Iran on the origin of these particles, the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, having announced new talks with Tehran.

But “After many months, Iran has not provided the necessary explanation for the presence of particles of nuclear material at any of the three sites where the agency carried out [inspections] additional “, can we read in the new report to IAEA member countries. ” The Director General [de l’AIEA] is concerned that the technical discussions between Iran and the agency have not produced the expected results ”, is it also written.

However, the uranium enrichment rate slowed down compared to the previous three months, when the Natanz nuclear complex was the victim of an explosion on April 11. In addition to this uranium enriched to less than 5%, Iran has resumed enrichment to 20% since the beginning of the year, before reaching an unprecedented milestone in April by rising to 60%, thus approaching the 90% required. for military use. According to the report, the 20% stock stands at 62.8 kilograms and the 60% stock is only 2.4 kilograms at the moment.

Since 2019, Tehran has gradually freed itself from its nuclear obligations, in response to the reinstatement of American sanctions by Donald Trump. Negotiations are currently underway in Vienna to bring the United States back into the fold of this agreement, intended to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring the atomic bomb.

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Le Monde with AFP and Reuters