Iran Develops Key Material for Nuke Production, Atomic Watchdog Reports

Iran previously warned Western nations that it will produce uranium metal, which is essential for the core of nuclear weapons

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A view of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility 250 km (155 miles) south of the Iranian capital Tehran, March 30, 2005
A view of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility 250 km (155 miles) south of the Iranian capital Tehran, March 30, 2005Credit: Raheb Homavandi/Reuters

Iran has followed through on its plan to make uranium metal, the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed on Wednesday after Tehran alarmed Western nations with its intent to produce the material with which the core of nuclear weapons can be made.

"Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today informed IAEA Member States about recent developments regarding Iran's R&D activities on uranium metal production as part of its stated aim to produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

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"The Agency on 8 February verified 3.6 gram of uranium metal at Iran's Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant (FPFP) in Esfahan," it added.

Earlier in the week, Israeli intelligence revealed that Iran is advancing with its nuclear program and could produce a bomb within two years, but its leadership hasn't decided yet as to whether to break out to weapons-grade enrichment.

Iranian state television also reported that Iran’s intelligence minister warned his country could push for a nuclear weapon if international sanctions on Tehran remain in place.

The remarks by Mahmoud Alavi mark a rare occasion that a government official says Iran could reverse its course on the nuclear program.

Tehran has long insisted that the program is for peaceful purposes only, though Alavi added that Iran has no plans to move toward a nuclear weapon under “current circumstances.”

Despite the early indications that the Biden administration will pursue a diplomatic strategy with Iran, the president said the United States will not lift its economic sanctions on Iran in order to get Tehran back to the negotiating table to discuss how to revive the Iran nuclear deal, according to a video released by CBS News on Sunday.

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