Iran grows its supply of enriched uranium, watchdog reports

Iran has grown its supply of enriched uranium in the last few months, according to the latest confidential quarterly report from the United Nations’ watchdog group, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The latest report — seen Monday by news outlets including The Associated Press and Reuters — shows Iran has increased its overall stockpile of enriched uranium, as well as its stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent purity, since the latest report in February.

According to the IAEA, uranium needs to be enriched to 90 percent to be considered at a weapons-grade level, but 42 kilograms (92.5 pounds) of uranium enriched to 60 percent is considered enough theoretically to create one atomic weapon, once it’s enriched to 90 percent.

The latest report, according to the AP and Reuters, shows Iran, as of May 11, has 142.1 kilograms (313.2 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 60 percent, up from 121.5 kilograms (267.8 pounds) in February.

February saw a decrease since its previous report in November 2023, when Iran had 128.3 kilograms of enriched uranium. The AP reported at the time that the decrease was the result of Iran diluting its 60 percent-enriched uranium with a lower-grade level.

As of May 11, Iran’s overall stockpile of uranium enriched to any point is 6,201.3 kilograms (1,3671.5 pounds), up from 5,525.5 kilograms (12,182 pounds) in February, the report said, according to the AP.

In February, the overall stockpile of enriched uranium had increased from November 2023, when Iran had 6,564.2 kilograms of enriched uranium.

The latest report comes as Iran ups the pressure on the international community to lift the sanctions imposed over its nuclear program. The AP reports that Iran is seeking to have the sanctions lifted in exchange for slowing the program.

Iran has said its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes, but as the stockpile grows, experts have raised concerns that the country has enough enriched uranium to make multiple weapons, in theory.

Former President Trump withdrew from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, which let Iran enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent purity and required the country to shrink its stockpile by 98 percent. UN officials were also permitted to monitor the program. Iran has since barred the inspectors from the sites.

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