By Pooya Stone
The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) has said that Iran has enriched 24 tons of uranium since signing the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, despite previously claiming that it has limited its stock of enriched uranium to 300 kilograms.
Ali Akbar Salehi made this disclosure during the session on Sunday of the “independent conservative” faction of the Parliament to discuss developments regarding the nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The members of the faction are supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as opposed to President Hassan Rouhani.
Just after the session, MP Gholamali Jafarzadeh quoted Salehi as saying that “after the JCPOA, Iran enriched 24 tons of uranium, not 300 kg”, which was verified by AEOI’s public relations department a few hours later. The International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) also confirmed the breach, which has been brought up on several previous occasions.
Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to reduce uranium stock to a weight of 300 kilograms, which meant selling off the remainder to other countries, and a purity level of 3.67%.
Salehi has not said how Iran has sold 24 tons of enriched uranium it produced as there do not appear to be documents about which country it was sold to. It is believed that his revelation was a response to critics who blamed Rouhani’s government for reducing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
This will no doubt trigger more doubts that Iran is committed to the nuclear deal’s terms, as every breach reduces the time needed for Iran to produce a nuclear bomb.
In a related matter, Iran has also recently started to enrich its uranium above the agreed purity level, as confirmed by the IAEO on July 8, in order to scare the other signatories to the deal into protecting Iran from US sanctions. Iran said that it could start enriching uranium to 20%.
The Iranian Regime has repeatedly warned that they would reduce their commitments to the nuclear deal since the US withdrew from the deal in May 2018, citing Iranian noncompliance and a deal that favoured Iran above everything and began to reimpose sanctions.
They say the measures are reversible and will be ended once other countries step in to protect them from US sanctions, but the reality is that this will not be easy for the other countries to achieve and begs the question who would trust Iran?
Also on Sunday, representatives from Europe, China and Russia met with Iran’s representative in Vienna to discuss saving the nuclear deal.