Iran’s uranium stockpile is 18 times the 2015 limit, IAEA finds

Iran is continuing its enrichment of uranium to levels higher than the 3.67 per cent limit in the defunct JCPOA deal

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, right, welcomes IAEA director general Rafael Grossi in Tehran, March. AP
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Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has grown to more than 18 times the limit laid down in 2015 nuclear deal, the UN nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it “estimated that, as of May 15, Iran's total enriched stockpile was 3,809.3 kilograms”.

The limit in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal was set at 300kg of a specific compound — the equivalent of 202.8kg of uranium.

Iran is continuing its enrichment of uranium to levels higher than the 3.67 per cent limit in the defunct deal, the IAEA said in its latest report on Iran's nuclear programme.

Enrichment levels of around 90 per cent are required for use in a nuclear weapon.

The stockpile of uranium enriched up to 20 per cent is now estimated to be 238.4kg, up 56.3kg since the last report in March, while the amount enriched to 60 per cent stands at 43.1kg, an increase of 9.9kg.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes.

This latest report comes as talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers remain deadlocked, after stalling in March.

Talks to restore the 2015 JCPOA, which the US abandoned four years ago under former president Trump, have taken place intermittently in Vienna.

Last year, Iran engaged in indirect talks with the US as a route to cancelling US sanctions that have gutted revenue and dramatically worsened economic hardships for ordinary people, stirring discontent.

One sticking point has been Iran's insistence on Washington removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Tehran's elite security force, from the US Foreign Terrorist Organisation list.

The US said in early May it was preparing equally for both a return to compliance with Iran on a nuclear deal and a situation with no agreement being reached.

“Because a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA is very much an uncertain proposition, we are now preparing equally for either scenario,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Updated: May 30, 2022, 4:47 PM