Iranian uranium enrichment is ‘constantly’ advancing: IAEA chief

“High officials in Iran say they have all the elements for a nuclear weapon,” warns head of nuclear watchdog group.

By World Israel News Staff

Iran is continuing to enrich uranium to nuclear weapons-grade levels, despite promises that it would cease to do so, warned the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday.

Rafael Grossi, the director of the nuclear watchdog group, told Reuters that while Iran had occasionally claimed to scale back its nuclear development, it was clear that the program is steadily advancing.

“This slowdown, speedup thing is like a cycle that for me does not alter the fundamental trend, which is a trend of constant increase in inventory of highly enriched uranium,” said Grossi.

He noted that while Iran has repeatedly claimed its program is strictly for peaceful purposes, officials have recently contradicted the official line by stating that the Islamic Republic is close to achieving the goal of obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“There is a concerning rhetoric, you may have heard high officials in Iran saying they have all the elements for a nuclear weapon lately,” Grossi told Reuters.

He added that as Tehran continues to advance its nuclear program, the gaps between the IAEA and the country are widening.

“We seem to be drifting apart,” Grossi said, explaining that Iran asserts it is unwilling to partner with the international community because “they are not getting incentives from the West,” such as sanctions relief.

Grossi said he finds “this logic very complicated to understand, because they should work with us… It should never be contingent on economic or other incentives.”

He urged Russia, a close ally of Iran, to pressure Tehran to return to the terms of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement.

“Russia has a role to play on Iran. It has played a role in the past as a JCPOA country and in the current circumstances where JCPOA is all but disintegrated, something must fill the void,” he said.