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UN watchdog: Iran has increased stockpile of highly enriched uranium

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The Iranian flag is seen in this June 10, 2021, file photo.

Iran has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium, which can be used for the development of nuclear weapons, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported Wednesday ahead of planned talks later this month on returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

Iran has enriched at least 39 pounds of uranium to a purity of 60 percent, a level considered highly enriched and close to nuclear weapon development capabilities, according to The Associated Press, which reviewed a confidential quarterly report from the IAEA.

The U.N. agency could not verify exactly how big of a stockpile Iran has. The nation has locked the IAEA out of its nuclear facilities, denying them surveillance footage and camera access to the sites since February.

In the confidential quarterly report, IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi called on Tehran to increase transparency about its nuclear production and developments.

“He reiterates the call upon Iran to take immediate steps to remedy the situation, and to implement security procedures at nuclear facilities that are consistent with internationally accepted security practices and Iran’s legal obligations in relation to privileges and immunities of the agency and its inspectors,” the agency reportedly said.

The news comes after an Iranian facility in Karaj reportedly restarted production of advanced parts that can enrich uranium. The country could have as many as 1,000 centrifuges now.

Washington and Tehran plan to restart negotiations on Nov. 29 on potentially returning to the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Then-President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal in 2018, at which point Iran began exceeding the deal’s limits.

Tags development of nuclear weapons Donald Trump Enriching uranium Iran Iran nuclear deal JCPOA Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Nuclear power Nuclear weapons U.S. sanctions United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency Uranium

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