Iran has been urged to “de-escalate” its nuclear enrichment program amid fears it could create an atomic bomb.
Ally Russia has been enriching uranium, the key ingredient in nuclear missiles, at an alarming rate since Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal in 2018, negotiated three years earlier by the Obama administration.
Additionally, they have prevented inspection of their uranium program by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an intergovernmental organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, in accordance with the nuclear agreement initial.
The UK, alongside France and Germany, known as the E3, has now urged Iran to stop covering up its nuclear practices as reports emerge that the weight of its stockpile of Enriched uranium is more than 18 times greater than the quantity authorized by the initial agreement.
During an E3 statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), Iran was accused of being in “violation blatant” of its international commitments.
Iran recently installed additional advanced centrifuges at one of its nuclear facilities, which spin uranium gas at high speeds to produce fuel for nuclear reactors or weapons.
It also continued to “prepare the installation of (eight) additional advanced centrifuge cascades,” which are groups of centrifuges, at another nuclear power plant.
During this time, he prevented the IAEA from monitoring their production and stockpiles of centrifuges and key components related to the peaceful manipulation of uranium, for more than two years.
The length of this hold means any return to inspection would leave the agency “facing major challenges in establishing a new baseline to rebuild knowledge continuity”.
They also withdrew the designation of experienced inspectors and denied visas to IAEA officials, which the E3 said was further evidence of Iran’s “refusal to fully cooperate.”
The E3, in its latest statement, called the recent progress worrying, but said it would continue to seek ways to “respond” to Iran’s refusal to cooperate.
A statement said: “We will continue consultations, alongside international partners, on how best to address growing doubts about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
“We call on Iran to de-escalate its program and look forward to further rapid and meaningful steps to implement the commitments of the IAEA Joint Statement on Verification and Monitoring. We remain committed to taking all diplomatic measures to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. »
Since the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018, Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb has been reduced from several months to less than two weeks – this estimate was made almost four months ago , meaning this timeline might be overestimated.
Former weapons inspector David Albright, founder of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), said Iran would only need three advanced centrifuge cascades and half its current stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent to achieve this.
This is not to say that Iran intends to create a bomb – one source told Express.co.uk that the “Iranian threat of making a nuclear bomb is far more powerful than having one” – but it highlights a growing divide between the two countries. those allied with the West and those who support Russia. It also shows the lack of influence of Western allies when they do not have US support.
And although Iran’s status as a troublemaker in the Middle East has recently been seen as declining following a China-brokered détente with longtime foe Saudi Arabia, the country’s other major power. the region, the reality of this agreement seems superficial and nuclear threats will only serve to aggravate tensions.