Iran has boosted its stockpile of enriched uranium, according to the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), just days before scheduled talks in Vienna to restore Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal.
The IAEA updated estimates of Iran’s uranium stockpile in a report cited by several media outlets on Wednesday, November 17.
Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium is estimated to be 2,489.7 kilogrammes (4,488.8 pounds) by the agency, which is several times higher than the cap agreed in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official title of the nuclear deal.
Iran’s overall stockpile of 20% enriched uranium was 113.8kg (251 pounds) earlier this month, up from 84.3kg (186 pounds) in September, according to the report.
Iran also has 17.7 kilograms (39 pounds) of 60 percent enriched uranium, up from 10 kilograms previously (22 pounds).
Iran’s representative office in Vienna said in a statement that IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi will visit Iran next week Monday and hold his first meeting with Iran’s new foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, the next day.
Months after Raisi’s administration was formed, the director of the global nuclear watchdog said he finds it “astonishing” that he has yet to meet and discuss several outstanding disputes with top Iranian officials.
The most immediate concern appeared to be operations at a centrifuge parts production facility in Karaj, which has been unmonitored by the IAEA since June, when Iran said that an Israel sabotage attack badly damaged the facility, including IAEA cameras.
Later in September, however, the two parties (Iran and the IAEA) battled when Iran said its security forces were still investigating the Karaj site and that no one could access it.
After Iran said it was investigating into the possibility, the IAEA said in a separate report on Wednesday that it “categorically” denied that its cameras were used to mount the attack on the Karaj site.
The talks are expected to be contentious as Raisi’s administration has said that Iran wants all US sanctions lifted, including those with “terrorism” or “human rights” designations, as well as a guarantee that the US will not abandon the deal again.
Meanwhile, the United States has maintained that it will only lift sanctions that are “inconsistent” with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known.