Washington: A United Nations Security Council (UNSC) report revealed on Monday that Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that experts say would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons.
The inspectors reported on Monday that Iran has now produced over 5,300 pounds of low-enriched uranium, all of which would have to undergo further enrichment before it could be converted to bomb fuel.
The inspectors reported that Iran had expanded work at its sprawling Natanz site in the desert, where it is raising the level of uranium enrichment up to 20 percent — the level needed for the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes for cancer patients.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report will bolster the Obama administration’s case for a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran and further diminish its interest in a deal, recently revived by Turkey and Brazil, in which Iran would send a portion of its nuclear stockpile out of the country.
According to the New York Times, the toughly worded report says that Iran has expanded work at one of its nuclear sites. It also describes, step by step, how inspectors have been denied access to a series of facilities, and how Iran has refused to answer inspectors’ questions on a variety of activities, including what the agency called the “possible existence” of “activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile”.
Iran has sought to locate many of its nuclear facilities in underground sites so as to lessen their vulnerability to aerial attacks.
The IAEA report quoted an Iranian letter as saying the second, underground laboratory was needed “to meet security measures”.
The United States said that the IAEA report showed "Iran`s continued failure to comply with its international obligations and its sustained lack of cooperation" with the UN on its nuclear programme.
National Security Council spokesman Michael Hammer said, "Most notably, the report outlines Iran`s continued uranium enrichment at both 3.5-percent and near-20-percent levels, construction of a heavy water research reactor, and refusal to permit the IAEA the access necessary to answer the ongoing questions... and long outstanding questions that surround a possible military dimension to its nuclear programme."
(With Agencies’ inputs)