The United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned Thursday that Iran had increased its stockpile of uranium well beyond the limits established in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, inching it closer to being capable of building a nuclear weapon.
In a confidential quarterly report to member nations, the IAEA said Iran has an estimated 33.2 kilograms of uranium enriched to up to 60% fissile purity, an increase of 15.5 kilograms since November.
Such highly enriched uranium can be easily refined to make nuclear weapons. According to The Associated Press, the 33.2-kilogram figure brings Iran closer to having enough weapons-grade uranium to produce such a weapon.
The IAEA report estimates that as of February 19, Iran’s stockpile of all enriched uranium was roughly 3.2 metric tons, an increase of 707.4 kilograms.
The report comes as senior diplomats from the original signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, have been meeting in Vienna with Iranian officials since November, trying to reinstate the agreement.
The head of the IAEA, Director-General Rafael Grossi said he will travel to Vienna Saturday “for meetings with senior Iranian officials,” the IAEA said Thursday.
The IAEA said these latest uranium figures, which could not be fully verified because of limits placed on the agency by Iran, indicate that time may be running out for the negotiators.