World War 3 fears: Iran nearly triples stockpile of enriched uranium

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made the statement in a confidential report, leaked to the Associated Press. The claims have raised questions about whether Iran is ignoring agreements made with other countries, and undertaking undeclared nuclear activities. As of February 19, Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium stands at 1,020.9 kilograms, compared to 372.3 kilograms in its November report.

Iran signed a nuclear deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)- in 2015, with the United States, the UK, Germany, France, China and Russia.

In the agreement, it agreed to only keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms.

The drastic increase in uranium now puts Iran close to the amount needed to produce a nuclear weapon.

However, the country has continued to deny this is the course of action they want to take.

Iran’s alleged flouting of the agreement appears to have derived from one particular political incident.

When President Donald Trump pulled the US abruptly out of the nuclear deal in 2018, Iran began to slowly violate the restrictions previously imposed.

President Trump was internationally criticised for his choice at the time, in a move many described as disturbing a working compromise of peace.

The nuclear deal had promised Iran economic incentives in return for curbing the development of its nuclear programme, however, it appears this has now been abandoned.

Tehran has now said it hopes to place pressure on the other nations involved in the JCPOA to increase economic incentives to fill the gap of America.

However, the country has been widely unsuccessful in its aims.

Britain, Germany and France have seemingly washed their hands of the matter by invoking a ‘dispute resolution mechanism’ designed to refer issues such as these to the UN Security Council.

Washington additionally placed strict sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the nuclear deal, and Iran is now suffering the economic consequences.

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A second report released by the IAEA has stated three Iranian locations have been identified where the country could potentially be storing undeclared nuclear material.

The body sent questions to Iran in three separate letters about the matter, however, received no response.

Activities recorded across the three sites are thought to date back to the early 2000s.

Before the nuclear deal was signed, Iran was enriching its uranium up to 20 percent.

This is a technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90 percent.

But Iran has announced every violation as it occurs in a bold signal to the international political community.

Ali Asghar Zarean, an aide to the nuclear chief of Iran, said: “Iran is increasing its stockpile of the enriched uranium with full speed.”

However, the most recent allegations have been refuted by the country’s leaders.

The IAEA said a response from Tehran to their concerns at the end of January said: “Iran will not recognise any allegation on past activities and does not consider itself obliged to respond to such allegations.”

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