VIENNA: The UN nuclear watchdog said on Monday it regretted that “no progress” had been made by Iran on outstanding issues, including reinstalling cameras to monitor Tehran’s nuclear programme and explaining uranium traces.

Iran, however, has slowed down the pace at which it produces uranium enriched up to 60 per cent — close to bomb-grade — according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The IAEA has been struggling for over two years to monitor Iran’s nuclear programme, which Tehran has stepped up since the 2015 international nuclear deal began to unravel.

The two confidential reports come days before the IAEA board of governors is due to meet to review Iran’s progress in addressing the watchdog’s concerns.

The agency noted that “no further progress” has been made in reinstalling some monitoring equipment set up under the 2015 deal — but which was later removed by Iran.

In March, Tehran vowed to reactivate surveillance devices.

The IAEA also deplored that it has had no access to any of the data recorded by its surveillance cameras since February 2021.

“Since June 2022, the only recorded data that exists is that collected by cameras installed at workshops in Esfahan in May 2023,” it said, adding that it is “indispensable” that Iran provides access to “all existing recorded data”.

‘Work in earnest’

On Tehran’s lack of progress in explaining nuclear material found at undeclared sites — Turquzabad and Varamin — the IAEA said it “requests Iran to work with the agency in earnest and in a sustained way towards the fulfilment of the commitments”.

The thorny issue has long exacerbated relations between the two parties.

In a separate report, the IAEA said Iran’s total stockpile of enriched uranium was lower than in May — due to technical reasons — but still more than 18 times the limit set in the 2015 accord.

Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was estimated at 3,795.5 kilogrammes as of August 19, down by 949kg from Maay. The limit in the 2015 deal was set at 202.8kg.

The stockpile of uranium enriched to up to 60pc stands now at 121.6 kilos, up from 114.1 kilos in May.

Enrichment levels of around 90pc are required for use in a nuclear weapon.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2023

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