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UN Official: Iran's Nuclear Program 'Advancing at a Gallop'

iranian flag next to a missile
(Vahid Reza Alaei/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 22 July 2022 10:00 AM EDT

Iran's nuclear program "is advancing at a gallop, and we have very little visibility," according to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi on Friday said Iran's nuclear program "has grown enormously, far beyond what it was in 2015. It is growth that is not only quantitative but qualitative, also with the levels of enrichment," The Times of Israel reported.

"This does not imply that Iran is making a nuclear weapon, but no country that does not have warlike projects enriches at that level, at 60%," Grossi added to Spain’s El Pais.

Nonproliferation experts warn that Iran has enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon, the Times reported.

Iran last month removed 27 surveillance cameras from its nuclear plants — something the IAEA, which reports to the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council, said raised the risk of its inspectors being unable to track Tehran's advances.

Grossi said then the move posed a "serious challenge" to its efforts, warning that it would be unable to maintain a "continuity of knowledge" about Iran's program.

"We are in a very complicated situation because Iran is not only advancing decisively and rapidly but concomitantly which reduces the IAEA’s visibility over all those areas," Grossi told El Pais.

Grossi said he believed nuclear negotiations had stalled over non-nuclear issues, such as the U.S. refusing to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a blacklist of terror organizations.

"I think there was a fairly solid agreement on the nuclear part, but what clearly transpires is that there are other areas, economic, political, financial, where there is no agreement," Grossi told El Pais.

"The end result is that I have been in very low visibility for almost five weeks ... therefore, if there is an agreement, it will be very difficult for me to piece together the puzzle of all this period of forced blindness. It is not impossible, but it will require a very complex task and perhaps some specific agreements."

President Joe Biden last week said that the U.S. is "not going to wait forever" for Iran to rejoin a dormant nuclear deal, a day after saying he'd be willing to use force against Tehran as a last resort, if necessary.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.

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Iran's nuclear program "is advancing at a gallop and we have very little visibility," according to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
iran, nuclear, program, iaea, united nations
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2022-00-22
Friday, 22 July 2022 10:00 AM
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