Iran is reportedly producing uranium metal in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, according to a Wednesday report by the UN atomic weapons agency, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report said that Iran produced the uranium metal on Feb. 8 after importing new equipment to one of its nuclear facilities in Isfahan, which is currently being monitored by the IAEA as part of the 2015 agreement, according to a report reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
Iran’s alleged move to produce uranium metal reportedly worries Western diplomats as the material is derived from uranium enrichment, a process used for civilian purposes and the production of nuclear weapons, the Journal reported.
Wednesday’s revelations mark another instance of Iranian efforts to violate the 2015 agreement, as the country has reportedly violated its terms on earlier occasions. In 2019, Iran was said to be operating 60 IR-6 advanced centrifuges, which are 10 times more efficient than the 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges Iran was allotted in the agreement, the Associated Press reported.
Tehran has reportedly been developing another centrifuge prototype called IR-9 that is capable of creating enriched uranium 50 times faster than the IR-1 centrifuges, AP reported.
In 2020, Iran said it would no longer be upholding the terms laid forth in the 2015 nuclear deal, saying it will “have no limitations” in the development of enriched uranium as part of its wider nuclear program, the New York Times reported. The announcement followed after the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad airport.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will end its final limitations in the nuclear deal, meaning the limitation in the number of centrifuges,” Iran’s National Security Council said in a statement, the Times reported.
On the 2020 campaign trail President Joe Biden said he would re-enter the U.S. into the Iran Deal, but Tehran has set a deadline of Feb. 21 for the U.S. to end sanctions and rejoin the agreement, the Daily Caller reported. In 2018 the Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Deal.
“The fact is, Iran is closer to a nuclear bomb today than it was when Donald Trump took office,” Biden said in a 2020 tweet.
The fact is, Iran is closer to a nuclear bomb today than it was when Donald Trump took office.
Every day he’s in charge of our national security is another day our enemies are emboldened and the American people are at risk. https://t.co/hEMkpGARuo
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 15, 2020
“The time that it would take Iran – based on public reports, the time that it would take Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon is down to, we think, a few months,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview on MSNBC.