Iran has secretly converted a facility to produce highly enriched uranium, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Tehran has violated its obligation to provide information about such steps, criticized the head of the authorities, Rafael Grossi, in Vienna on Wednesday.
Uranium with a purity of up to 60 percent has been produced in the Fordow underground facility since the end of 2022. Grossi has pointed out in the past that Iran is now approaching 90 percent enrichment for nuclear weapons. Iranian politicians have been saying for years that they do not want to build nuclear weapons.
As Grossi reported, IAEA inspectors discovered during an unannounced inspection of the Fordow plant that enrichment machines had been "significantly" modified since November. The IAEA did not say whether and how this increased production capacity. A confidential report on the IAEA inspection, which the Reuters news agency was able to see, said that two units of centrifuges were connected in a way that differed significantly from the declared structure.
Grossi reported last week in the European Parliament that Iran already has enough uranium for several nuclear weapons if the material is further enriched. However, Tehran still has a long way to go before building such weapons, with technical and political hurdles.
In 2015, Iran pledged to limit its nuclear program. In return, Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic were lifted. After the United States pulled out of this pact under President Donald Trump, Tehran gradually reversed the restrictions. Negotiations to restore the nuclear pact, in which Germany is also involved, have been on hold for months.