Iran Keeps Adding To Its Nearly Weapons-Grade Uranium Stockpile

( – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi died in a helicopter crash on May 19. The Arabic nation will hold special elections next month to choose a new leader. Recent reports indicate the country is also growing its uranium stockpile.

On May 27, inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium had increased by 17% in the last three months. The Associated Press saw the report stating the country has 313.2 pounds of uranium that has already been enriched up to 60%. That is an increase of 45.4 pounds since the IAEA’s last report in February.

The nation’s overall stockpile of enriched uranium (of all enrichment levels) is 13,671.5 pounds. According to the IAEA’s definition, approximately 92.5 pounds is what would be needed to create one atomic weapon. But it would first need to be enriched to 90%.

Iran has long maintained that it only has a nuclear program for the purpose of peace. However, critics are concerned about what the hardline Islamic country would do if it had a nuclear weapon. They’re especially worried about what Iran could do to Israel, its longtime enemy.

IAEA Chief Rafael Mariano Grossi has warned that Iran was enriching enough material to stockpile multiple nuclear bombs eventually. He’s also said the agency can’t guarantee Iran hasn’t peeled away a centrifuge for enrichment. The report indicated that Grossi “deeply regrets” the Iranian government’s decision to prohibit inspectors from entering the country.

In 2015, world leaders struck a deal with Tehran to lift economic sanctions in return for promises from Iran that it would not enrich more uranium. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran Deal as it’s known in America, only allowed enrichment up to 3.67% purity and it had to reduce its stockpile by 98%. When former President Donald Trump took office, he pulled the US out of the agreement.

The IAEA report also announced there’s been a pause in talks between Tehran and the IAEA to improve cooperation.

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