By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) A United Nations nuclear monitoring agency says that Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium necessary for an atomic bomb has increased once again, meaning the regime has closed the time gap to build one.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has nearly tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium since early November, causing weapons experts and diplomats to sound the alarm.
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The Wall Street Journal noted that the agency also said Iran blocked inspectors from gaining access to a pair of nuclear sites and thus far is refusing the agency’s requests to take samples there.
The IAEA says the samples are necessary in order to determine whether Tehran is storing nuclear materials at the sites or whether the regime has conducted nuclear-related activities there.
The paper adds:
Last year, the IAEA found nuclear material after taking samples at a site in the capital. The Agency issued a separate report on Tuesday on its discussions with Iran about the site, highlighting its “serious concern.”
The concerns about the nuclear material is believed to be related to nuclear work done by Iran more than 15 years ago.
Iran’s growing stockpile of enriched uranium may pose a major test for President Trump ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November. Mr. Trump has vowed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. His administration has imposed harsh sanctions to press Tehran to stop all enrichment of nuclear material and halt its support for militant groups in the Middle East.
The IAEA’s discovery also puts additional pressure on European allies who have been trying, so far in vain, to resurrect portions of the Obama administration’s feckless 2015 ‘nuclear deal.’
The IAEA said Tuesday that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium had grown to 1,021 kilograms as of Feb. 19, up from 372 kg on Nov. 3. Under the deal, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium was capped at 202.8 kilograms of uranium mass equivalent to 300 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride.
But Iran was always suspected of cheating anyway. In fact, in April 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that commandos had raided a sensitive Iranian facility and recovered a trove of documents proving that Tehran wasn’t abiding by the Obama-era agreement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed on Monday a cache of documents he says proves Iran lied to the world about its nuclear program for years, even after the 2015 nuclear deal with the world. “Iran did not come clean about its nuclear program,” Netanyahu said in a prime time address in English. Iran, for its part, blasted the speech as “propaganda.”
Presenting 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs, Netanyahu said Iran hid an “atomic archive” of documents on its nuclear program.
“This is an original Iranian presentation from these files,” Netanyahu said, stressing that “the mission statement is to design, produce and test five warheads with 10 kiloton of TNT yield for integration on missiles.”
“After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran intensified its efforts to hide its secret files,” Netanyahu said. “In 2017 Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran.”
He added that the documents prove that Iran has always lied about its nuclear program being merely for the ‘peaceful purposes’ of power generation.
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