On Friday, a confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report indicated that Iran is continuing to build up enriched uranium stockpiles beyond limits set out in the 2015 nuclear deal. Tehran has vowed to continue reducing commitments to the treaty until other signatories find a way to bypass crippling US sanctions.
Israeli Prime Minister has called on the international community to join the US in applying “paralyzing” sanctions on Iran over the alleged violation of its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.
“Over the weekend, the IAEA determined that Iran had refused to allow IAEA inspectors access to clandestine sites at which Iran had carried out secret military nuclear activity. Iran has systematically violated its commitments by hiding sites and enriching fissionable material, and has committed other violations,” Netanyahu said, speaking at a cabinet meeting on Sunday.
“I believe that the time has come, and I think that the time has passed, but reality certainly requires it in the light of these revelations, for the international community to join the US and reimpose paralyzing sanctions on Iran,” the prime minister said.
Over the weekend, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) determined that Iran had refused to allow IAEA inspectors access to clandestine sites at which Iran had carried out secret military nuclear activity. pic.twitter.com/IxduL9sPVf
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) June 7, 2020
Netanyahu stressed that Israel “will not allow” Tehran to achieve nuclear weapons capability, and would “continue to act methodically against Iran’s attempts to militarily entrench on our borders.”
Netanyahu’s comments follow the release of a confidential report Friday indicating that Iran has continued to grow its stockpile of enriched uranium, registering 1,571.6 kg of the nuclear fuel as of May 20, up from 1,020.9 kg on February 19. According to the report, Tehran has also refused to allow inspectors access to access two shuttered nuclear facilities. Enrichment levels, meanwhile, are said to have increased to 4.5 percent, up from the 3.67 percent limit outlined in the JCPOA.
Iran maintains that it has no intention to produce nuclear weapons, or weapons of mass destruction of any kind, and that its atomic program is aimed strictly at producing nuclear energy.
For the moment, the country’s uranium enrichment levels as reported by the IAEA remain far below the purity levels required to build a nuclear bomb. The nuclear bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945, for instance, had an enrichment level of about 80 percent.
Iran’s uranium stockpiles are also far below the estimated 7,000 kg that the country had in 2013, before the signing of the JCPOA. At that time, enrichment levels reached up to 20 percent purity.
Tehran began reducing its commitments under the nuclear deal in May 2019, a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and slapped the country with tough energy and banking sanctions. The nation’s leaders promised to continue to abandon certain of the deal’s components until the JCPOA’s European signatories found a way to bypass the crushing economic impact of Washington’s sanctions, which include secondary sanctions against foreign companies doing business with the Islamic Republic.
Officials in Tel Aviv and Tehran have been engaged in a years-long debate on one another’s nuclear intentions, with Israeli officials accusing Iran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon to target Israel, while Iranian officials have pointed out that Israel is the only nation in the Middle East with an actual nuclear arsenal.