Photo Credit: US Dept of Education / Wikimedia
A billet of highly enriched uranium metal.

The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency reported Tuesday that Iran has stockpiled more than five times the limit of enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal signed by Tehran with world powers.

On February 19, 2020 the Iranian stockpile stood at 1,510 kilograms, according to the IAEA report – more than five times the 300 kg limit set under the JCPOA.

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According to some analysts this is a sufficient amount to produce a nuclear weapon, although it would still require several more steps before it could be used in an atomic bomb.

In addition, there are two undeclared locations where nuclear activities are taking place, a second IAEA report said, and Iran is refusing to allow inspectors access to those sites.

“Iran must decide to cooperate in a clearer manner with the agency to give the necessary clarifications,” said Rafael Grossi, the new head of the IAEA who was in Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, according to the AFP news agency.

“The fact that we found traces [of uranium] is very important. That means there is the possibility of nuclear activities and material that are not under international supervision and about which we know not the origin or the intent. That worries me,” Grossi added.

For months, the IAEA has been questioning Tehran about the kinds of activities that were being carried out at the undeclared site identified by Israeli intelligence, where uranium particles were found. Israel has alleged secret atomic activity had taken place there in the past.

According to the report issued Tuesday by the IAEA, “The Agency identified a number of questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at three locations in Iran.”

At one of them the report said the IAEA had from early July 2019 observed “activities… consistent with effort to sanitize part of the location.”

A diplomatic source said that the three locations were separate from the Turquzabad site identified by the Israelis.

The source also said that the agency’s queries were thought to relate to Iran’s historic nuclear activities and not to its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The IAEA first raised questions about the sites last year; its report said Iran refused access to two of the undeclared sites that the agency wished to visit in late January.

Iran subsequently sent the IAEA a letter saying it did “not recognize any allegation on past activities and does not consider itself obliged to respond to such allegations.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.