Nuclear inspectors in Iran find uranium enriched to 84% purity: Reports


New Delhi: Nuclear inspectors in Iran have discovered uranium in the country that has been enriched to 84 per cent purity, just below the level needed to develop nuclear weapons, according to reports.

According to a Bloomberg report, International atomic monitors in Iran last week had detected uranium enriched to levels just below that needed for a nuclear weapon and that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was investigating how Iran managed to enrich uranium to 84 per cent, which the report says is the highest level found by inspectors to date.

To create a nuclear weapon, uranium must be enriched to at least 90 per cent.

The IAEA said in a tweet on Sunday that it was aware of the new reports of Iran’s uranium enrichment levels.

“The IAEA is aware of recent media reports relating to uranium enrichment levels in Iran,” the agency wrote on Twitter early on Monday. “Director General @rafaelmgrossi is discussing with Iran the results of recent Agency verification activities and will inform the IAEA Board of Governors as appropriate.”

A senior European diplomat said that if the reports were confirmed, it would be a “grave development.”

“We are in close contact with our partners following reports that Iran may have enriched uranium to levels over 80 per cent,” The Wall Street Journal quoted the diplomat as saying.

“If confirmed this would be an unprecedented and extremely grave development,” added the diplomat.

Iran denies enriching uranium to 84 per cent

Meanwhile, Iran has denied that it has intentionally enriched uranium to a purity of 84 per cent amid ongoing issues with the global nuclear watchdog and disagreements over its 2015 nuclear deal.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, late on Sunday said that particles with a purity of higher than 60 per cent had been found by inspectors, but that had happened before and was nothing out of the ordinary.

“The existence of a uranium particle or particles with a purity of over 60 per cent in the enrichment process does not mean that there has been enrichment over 60 per cent,” Aljazeera quoted him as saying to the state-linked Fars news website.

“This is something very natural which can even occur as a result of a decrease in the feed of centrifuge cascades at a moment. What matters is the final product, and the Islamic Republic of Iran has so far not tried to enrich over 60 per cent.”

‘Smearing and warping facts’

According to Kamalvandi, an issue like this was not something the agency would even report to its member states, so the fact that it has been leaked to Western media showed it was an effort towards “smearing and warping facts”.

The official also echoed Iranian claims that the agency was being used as a “political tool” to exert pressure on Iran by leaking private information to media outlets in Western nations.

It was first reported in 2021 that Iran was enriching uranium to 60 per cent purity, which at the time was the highest level it had achieved.

Former President Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated during former President Obama’s time in office. The deal at the time capped Iran’s level of uranium enrichment at 3.67 per cent, and required the country to reduce its uranium stockpile by 98 per cent.

Iran has since expanded its nuclear program as lawmakers have previously said that Iran is unlikely to reestablish a nuclear deal with the Biden administration.

With inputs from agencies

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Nuclear inspectors in Iran find uranium enriched to 84% purity: Reports
Nuclear inspectors in Iran find uranium enriched to 84% purity: Reports
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