IAEA: Iran short of bomb-making materials but ‘amount is growing by the month’

“Iranians continue to enrich uranium, and to a much higher degree than they have committed themselves to,” says nuclear watchdog agency.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The head of the international nuclear watchdog agency says Iran is enriching uranium at a levels beyond which the Iranians themselves had planned, a published report said 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,” the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, said in an interview published in the Austrian newspaper Die Presse and reported by Reuters.

Grossi said the IAEA does not think that Iran currently has enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon, but was evasive when asked about the “breakout time” Iran would need to get enough military grade uranium for an atomic bomb.

“In the IAEA we do not talk about breakout time,” Grossi 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.”

In June, the IAEA reported that Iran has exponentially increased its enriched uranium stockpile and was not allowing international inspectors to check suspected nuclear sites in the country.

Iran claims its nuclear program is purely peaceful, but the Iranians have a long history of lying to the IAEA and refusing to cooperate. For years, IAEA reports on Iran documented Iranian refusal to allow inspections at its nuclear facilities to the point that the UN watchdog agency said Iranian actions “seriously undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.”

Leading up to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the late IAEA director Yukiya Amano repeatedly warned that his agency was “not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Two years into the deal, Amano admitted that the IAEA did not have all the tools to totally ensure that Iran was complying. Critics of the deal pointed out that Iran refused to give the IAEA access to military sites and demanded advanced notice of “surprise inspections,” rendering them useless.

The terms of the nuclear deal demanded that Iran provide a full history of its work in the nuclear field. Iran stonewalled the IAEA over requests to inspect two sites where suspected nuclear-related work was carried out in the early 2000s but never declared by the country’s mullahs.