The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had accumulated enough material to build “several nuclear weapons”.


Abu Dhabi
CNN

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon should resume, and warned that Tehran had accumulated enough material for “several nuclear weapons”.

Speaking ahead of a scheduled visit to Tehran, Grossi told a European Parliament subcommittee in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran had not yet built a nuclear weapon and that the West should redouble its efforts to prevent it from doing so.

Enriched uranium to more than 90% can be turned into weapons. Iran has 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of uranium enriched to 60% purity, and 1,000 kilograms to 20% purity, according to Grossi.

He said the IAEA secretary-general is heading to Tehran in February for a “much-needed political dialogue” even though the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement signed with Iran in 2015, is “in very poor shape.”

Grossi called the JCPOA an “empty shell,” saying that the diplomatic activity associated with reviving the 2015 nuclear deal is almost non-existent.

“No one has declared his death, but no commitment has been pursued, and … every boundary that was in the JCPOA has been violated many times over,” Grossi said.

Portrait of Iran's nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami in September 2022.

Last year, the International Atomic Energy Agency asked Iran to explain why traces of uranium were discovered in three areas that were not supposed to be designated for nuclear activity. Iran responded by removing 27 IAEA cameras.

On Tuesday, Grossi said the move left his agency “blind” in several respects, including the amount of materials, equipment and centrifuges currently in place.

Mohammad Eslami, head of Iran’s atomic agency, confirmed Grossi’s planned visit, Fars news agency reported on Wednesday, and said Tehran was expecting a visit from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The rollback in attempts to revive the deal came at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.

The European Union mediated indirect talks between Washington and Tehran with the aim of re-launching the nuclear agreement, but the negotiations stalled after the Iranian government demanded more guarantees.

Then the talks came to a complete halt due to the nationwide protests in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mohsa Gina Amini in September.

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has not been on the agenda for months,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday.

The Biden administration also imposed sanctions on Tehran in the wake of a government crackdown on protesters, which included the execution of those accused of involvement.

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