Iran’s Enriched Uranium Stockpile Is 10 Times Over Mandated Limit, Warns UN Nuclear Watchdog

Iranian flags stand tall in a public square.
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A nuclear watchdog employed by the U.N. has warned in a report released on Friday that Iran’s stockpiles of enriched uranium are more than 10 times the limit that had been mandated in the 2015 International Treaty.

According to the Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) claimed Iran has a total of 2,105.4 kilograms of low-enriched uranium as of August 25. This is a stark increase from its levels reported on May 20, which were calculated as 1,571.6 kilograms.

This is a massive breach of the treaty spearheaded by then-President Barack Obama in 2015. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the terms included a limit of 202.8 kilograms allowed for Iran’s stockpile, meaning the current levels are 10 times over the negotiated number.

Even more worryingly, the IAEA noted the uranium was enriched to a purity of 4.5 percent, despite the fact that the 2015 deal had also mandated the maximum allowed percentage of enrichment was 3.67. Though weapons would require a purity of 90 percent or more, the process becomes easier the purer the element becomes. It is considered a quick procedure to create a bomb once the material is at one-fifth purity.

Over the past couple of years, Iran has begun flouting the rules mandated by the pact. International relations experts have hypothesized that the Persian nation hopes the countries involved in the pact — including the U.K., France, and China — will increase incentives in response.

Iran needs such incentives, as its economy has struggled after the U.S. — under President Donald Trump — pulled out of the deal and reinstated harsh sanctions. In fact, the financial health of the country is so poor that it has sparked protests and was alleged to influence health policies concerning the novel coronavirus pandemic to prioritize the nation’s economy.

This handout image supplied by the IIPA (Iran International Photo Agency) shows a view of the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant as the first fuel is loaded, on August 21, 2010 in Bushehr, southern Iran.
  IIPA / Getty Images

However, despite Iran failing to comply with the agreement, many governments insist the deal should not be discarded, as it gives the IAEA important access to the country’s nuclear facilities.

Moreover, there is one bright spot amid the findings. The watchdog noted that the Iranian stockpile of heavy water had decreased and was finally within the limits set by the treaty, per Al Jazeera. Heavy water is a known component of nuclear reactors and the country had exceeded it’s allowable amount last fall.

Information on the growing stockpile comes as tensions between the U.S. and Iran hit a new high earlier this year, with panicked Twitter users predicting the start of World War III. Even as recently as April, Trump claimed the U.S. Navy should “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian gunboats that harassed their ships, as was previously covered by The Inquisitr.