The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) commented on Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity. Rafael Grossi, the Director-General of the United Nations’s nuclear watchdog, stated that Iran had reached a uranium enrichment level that “only countries making bombs are reaching.”
Speaking to the Financial Times, Grossi warned that the stage that Iran has reached in uranium enrichment over the past two years is “very concerning.” According to the Director-General, the Iranian nuclear program is now more sophisticated. While commercial enrichment level is around two percent, sixty percent is almost weapon level, Grossi added.
Acknowledging that developing a nuclear program is Iran’s sovereign right, Grossi emphasized that the level that the country has reached in uranium enrichment “requires a vigilant eye.” He also stated that most of the steps taken by Tehran in terms of the nuclear program could be reversed easily. However, the main problem is Iran’s level of research and development, according to Grossi.
In terms of concerns regarding the Iranian know-how stage, Grossi said that “You cannot put the genie back into the bottle; once you know how to do stuff, you know, and the only way to check this is through verification. The Iranian program has grown and became more sophisticated, so the linear return to 2015 is no longer possible. What you can do is keep activities below the parameters of 2015.”
Grossi’s statements came amid a medium that negotiations between Iran and world powers to restore the 2015 nuclear deal are ongoing in Austria’s capital, Vienna. Earlier this week, Iranian government spokesperson Ali Rabiei stated that he was optimistic that an agreement to revive the 2015 nuclear deal could be reached between the parties in the near future.
Iran has recently agreed to extend the duration of the monitoring deal that provides access to the IAEA to data of Iranian nuclear sites for a month.