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Source: DW

Apr 23, 2024

Iran's nuclear activities 'raises eyebrows' at IAEA

Iran's enrichment of uranium and a lack of access to international monitors is fueling suspicions about its nuclear activities. The International Atomic Energy Agency said its committed to promoting dialogue with Tehran.

By Biresh Banerjee | Zachary Crellin

Iran is "weeks rather than months" away from having enough enriched uranium to develop a nuclear bomb, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told DW.

"But that does not mean that Iran has or would have a nuclear weapon in that space of time," he added.

He said that although uranium enrichment at near weapons-grade levels is a cause for alarm, one cannot draw the direct conclusion that Iran now has a nuclear weapon

"A functional nuclear warhead requires many other things independently from the production of the fissile material," Grossi said.

He also said Iran's objectives are "a matter of speculation." 

The Iranian public line is that this fissile material is needed for medical or civilian purposes.

IAEA still seeking more access in Iran

Grossi said the IAEA is not getting the level of access he believes it needs in Iran, which he said added more to the speculation around Tehran's nuclear program. 

"I have been telling my Iranian counterparts time and again [...] this activity raises eyebrows and compounded with the fact that we are not getting the necessary degree of access and visibility that I believe should be necessary," he said. 

"When you put all of that together, then, of course, you end up with lots of question marks."

Grossi highlighted unresolved IAEA findings, including traces of enriched uranium in unexpected locations, exacerbating doubts about Iran's transparency.

"This has been at the center of this dialogue that I have been and I am still trying to conduct with Iran." 

Nuclear threats 'absolutely deplorable'

Turning to the escalating tensions between Israel and Iran, Grossi condemned any notion of attacking nuclear facilities.

"Attacking nuclear facilities is an absolute no-go," he said.

Grossi noted a worrying trend of the threat of nuclear attack or nuclear weapons being dropped.

"So I believe that this normalization of talk about nuclear weapons, dropping nuclear weapons, getting nuclear weapons is absolutely deplorable," he added.

Reacting to reports of talks between the United States and Iran, the IAEA chief said his agency always tries to promote dialogue. 

"And what I am interested in is the dialogue between us, the IAEA and Iran, because there are many things that need to be clarified, and it is for this that we are going to be traveling to Tehran soon," he said.

Grossi said his message to the Iranians would be that Iran should cooperate more. 

"I will be there to try to put these things back on track if they want to be believed," he added.

This text was based on a DW News interview conducted by Biresh Banerjee.

Edited by: Farah Bahgat

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