“The Iranians continue to enrich uranium, and to a much higher degree than they have committed themselves to (under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal). And this amount is growing by the month,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Rafael Grossi told Austrian paper Die Presse in an interview it published on Saturday.
Asked about how long Iran would need to build a nuclear weapon, Grossi said, “In the IAEA, we do not talk about breakout time. We look at the significant quantity, the minimum amount of enriched uranium or plutonium needed to make an atomic bomb. Iran does not have this significant quantity at the moment.”
Earlier this month, Grossi said that the IAEA carried out more than 400 inspections on Iran last year.
Iran signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — whose aim is to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and weapons technology — in July 1968 and ratified it in February 1970.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly underlined that it has never sought and will never seek nuclear arms based on a fatwa (religious decree) issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. The fatwa bans the production, possession and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
Asked whether the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is dead or not, the IAEA chief said it was “very much alive to the countries adhering to it”, namely Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
In May 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA.
Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the JCPOA after the US withdrawal, but the three EU parties to the deal have failed to ensure Iran’s economic interests.
The EU’s inaction forced Tehran to stop honoring certain commitments to the nuclear deal, including a rise in the stockpile of enriched uranium.
Iran maintains that the new measures are not designed to harm the JCPOA but to save the accord by creating a balance in the commitments.