Iran Slows Uranium Enrichment In Possible Move To Decrease Tensions

According to a confidential report from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has slowed its uranium enrichment, the Associated Press reported.

The IAEA reported on Monday that Iran has 121.6 kg of uranium enriched to 60 percent, meaning its uranium stockpile is growing at the slowest pace since 2021. The IAEA’s May report put Iran’s stockpile at just over 114 kg. In February, the IAEA reported the stockpile at 87.5 kg.

Tehran has long denied that it is seeking nuclear weapons, insisting that its uranium enrichment is strictly for peaceful purposes. However, the IAEA previously warned that Iran has enough enriched uranium for “several” nuclear weapons.

With a 60 percent purity, Iran is just a small, technical step away from enriching uranium at the weapons-grade level of 90 percent.

US intelligence agencies said in March that Tehran wasn’t currently taking the steps necessary to produce “a testable nuclear device” and it would still likely need months to get there.

In its current report, the IAEA estimated that the country’s total enriched uranium stockpile declined to 3,795.5 kg (or 8,367 lbs). In its previous report, the agency estimated the stockpile at 4,744.5 kg (or 10,459 lbs). According to the IAEA, the decline is due to Iran diluting some of its enriched uranium.

While enrichment has slowed, the IAEA reported problems with its attempts to monitor Tehran’s program.

According to the report, Tehran has denied visas to IAEA officials and hindered their ability to monitor Iran’s nuclear program in other ways. The agency has also been unable to access surveillance footage since February 2021 given Iran’s restrictions. The only recorded data obtained since June of last year has been from cameras at an Isfahan workshop.

The IAEA also said that there has been no progress on its request that Tehran explain how manmade uranium particles were discovered at two locations Iran did not declare as possible nuclear sites.