According to the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Iranian government has increased its production of metallic uranium.
Reuters quoted the IAEA as saying on Monday that the Iranian government had used 257 grams of 20 percent enriched uranium in the form of uranium tetrafluoride to produce 200 grams of metallic uranium.
However, according to the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, known as the JCPOA, the production of metal uranium, which is effective in making nuclear weapons, has been banned by the Iranian government.
Government resolution and metal uranium production
The production of metallic uranium, and now uranium tetrafluoride, comes after the Iranian parliament passed a resolution requiring Hassan Rouhani’s government to suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol unless sanctions are lifted by March 24, 2021.
According to the decree, the Iranian government can store 120 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium annually.
Also, according to this decree, the Iranian government has allowed itself to install and operate 1000 IR 6 centrifuges in one year and to enrich 500 kg of uranium per month.
Also, according to this decree, the establishment of a metal uranium production plant in Isfahan is on the agenda of the Iranian government until May 2022.
Members of the JCPOA are concerned about the Iranian government’s move to increase the production of metallic uranium
According to Reuters, quoting the UN nuclear agency, member states of the IAEA Board, plus the United States, have expressed concern about the production of metallic uranium and have considered it a precondition for the development of nuclear weapons.
This speculation has intensified when the Iranian government refused to extend the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors’ access to the IAEA after two rounds of three- and one-month agreements with the IAEA and reduced some IAEA inspections.
Some analysts believe that the Iranian government’s move is a step towards increasing pressure on the United States to lift all sanctions against the Iranian government during the JCPOA talks, which took place from April 2021 to June 20, but the United States has said it will not lift any sanctions until the Iranian government abides by all the JCPOA’s provisions.
The failure of the Vienna talks and the Iranian government’s shift to the production of metallic uranium
The Vienna talks have stalled since June 20 due to the Iranian government’s excessive demands for the lifting of all sanctions and, according to some analysts, due to the transfer of power to the Iranian government.
Earlier, Reuters quoted unnamed Iranian government sources as saying that the head of state might impose new conditions, such as allowing 60 percent enrichment and the continued operation of advanced centrifuges, as a precondition for continuing negotiations. The order was rejected by Western diplomats.
The stances of the US and Iran before the news of the increase in the production of metallic uranium
Earlier on August 9, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Iranian government’s foreign ministry, said the government is not satisfied with anything less than a return to the 2015 JCPOA.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reported on August 9, quoting informed sources, that due to the lack of agreement in the negotiations to revive the JCPOA, Biden’s government is looking for alternatives, including the limited lifting of sanctions on Iran in exchange for suspending many sensitive activities of the Iranian government.
Increase in US sanctions against Iran
But less than four days have been passed after Bloomberg’s announcement, the US Treasury Department had sanctioned some individuals and companies on August 13 as a network that was transporting and smuggling Iranian oil under the auspices of the Revolutionary Guards and added it to its blacklist.
However, despite the sanctions, Ismail Kowsari, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards and a member of Iran’s parliament, announced on August 15 that nuclear talks would be resumed in Raisi’s government and that there was no question that the talks would not continue.
The US Condemned Iran’s increase in production of metallic uranium
But despite all these actions and reactions between the two countries and the actions taken by the Iranian government, US State Department spokesman Ned Price in response to the IAEA report on the increase in metal uranium production said called the regime’s move, “unconstructive and inconsistent with a return to mutual compliance,” and added: “Iran has no credible need to produce uranium metal, which has direct relevance to nuclear weapons development.”