Saturday, June 22, 2024
 
 

US tells Iran it must let inspectors into its nuclear sites

EPA-EFE//SHAWN THEW
US Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Brian Hook at the State Department in Washington, DC.

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The US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook demanded that the Islamic Republic, Washington’s arch-enemy in the Middle East, immediately ensure that UN inspectors have access to sites where suspected illicit nuclear enrichment activity is currently taking place, moves that constitute major violations of the 2015 nuclear deal that was signed by the US, UK, Germany, France, Russia, China, and Iran. The deal was designed to shut down Tehran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities in exchange for economic sanctions relief. The Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 after Iran refused to end its sponsorship of terrorist organisations in the Near East, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip-based extremist group Hamas.
The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency hoped to gain access to certain sites in Iran after it published its regular quarterly report which revealed that Tehran has nearly tripled its stockpile of highly enriched uranium since November.
The nuclear watchdog’s findings have raised new questions about the Islamic Republic’s possible nuclear weapons-related activities at three secret locations that were previously undeclared to international observers. The IAEA never visited any of the sites in the past and Iran has said that it had “no obligation“ to grant the international community and access to the sites.
Hook did not mince his words when warning Iran, saying that access is required under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, to which Iran is a signatory. As part of its obligations to the treaty.
After Trump withdrew from the deal, Iran intentionally moved to violate the agreement’s restrictions. In January, Tehran announced that it will no longer abide by any of the limits of the deal after the country’s top commander, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US drone strike while travelling in a car convoy in Iraq. Soleimani was in charge of Iran’s foreign intelligence and military operations and was known as the mastermind behind Tehran’s policies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.
The deal allows Iran to keep only a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms, but the IAEA said that, as of February, the country’s total stockpile of low-enriched uranium amounted to 1,020.9 kilograms. The US-based Arms Control Association has said that Iran would need roughly 1050 kilograms (1.16 tons) of low-enriched uranium – under 5% purity – for a weapon and would then need to enrich it further to weapons-grade, or more than 90% purity.

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