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Iran lacking 'significant quantity' of uranium for an atomic bomb, says IAEA chief

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi spoke to Die Presse [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 October, 2020

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Despite amassing enriched uranium at much higher levels than agreed in the nuclear deal, Iran is still far off being able to manufacture an atomic weapon, said the IAEA chief
Iran is lacking the amount of enriched uranium needed to make an atomic bomb, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog told Austrian newspaper Die Presse on Saturday.

"The Iranians continue to enrich uranium, and to a much higher degree than they have committed themselves to. And this amount is growing by the month," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Rafael Grossi said.

Grossi dismissed a question on Iran's "breakout time", the amount of time Iran would need to successfully make an atomic bomb.

"In the IAEA we do not talk about breakout time," he said. "We look at the significant quantity, the minimum amount of enriched uranium or plutonium needed to make an atomic bomb. Iran does not have this significant quantity at the moment."

Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is solely for energy purposes, and denies ever having developed nuclear weapons.

According to the IAEA definition, the "significant quantity" is the approximate amount of nuclear elements that could enable the creation of a nuclear explosive device.

The most recent IAEA report on Iran said it had amassed 2,105.4 kg of enriched uranium, significantly higher than the 202.8 kg limit agreed in the 2015 JCPOA deal.

Read also: Russia has 'no problem' selling Iran its advanced S-400 air defences

However, this is still a fraction of the enriched uranium it had before the accord.

Iran is also enriching to up to 4.5% purity, significantly lower than the 20% it reached prior to the deal, and far below the 90% that is defined as weapons-grade.

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