IAEA deeply troubled by possible nuclear material at Iran site flagged by Israel


Sources say no indication Tehran facility was used for processing uranium, but may have been used for storing it as late as 2018, around when Netanyahu revealed site to UN

By AFP and TOI STAFFToday, 12:58 am  0

Illustrative: Iran's alleged atomic warehouse in Turquzabad, Tehran. (YouTube screenshot)

Illustrative: Iran’s alleged atomic warehouse in Turquzabad, Tehran. (YouTube screenshot)

The UN’s atomic watchdog said Tuesday that it was “deeply concerned” by the possible presence of nuclear material at an undeclared site in Iran that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared was a “secret atomic warehouse.”

“The agency is deeply concerned that undeclared nuclear material may have been present at this undeclared location and that such nuclear material remains unreported by Iran under its safeguards agreement,” a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency seen by AFP said.

“After 18 months, Iran has not provided the necessary, full and technically credible explanation for the presence of the nuclear material particles,” the report said.

The site in question is in the Turquzabad district of Tehran, previously identified by Israel as an alleged site of secret atomic activity.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the site several times after Netanyahu identified it in a 2018 address to the UN General Assembly, took soil samples, and later definitively concluded that there were “traces of radioactive material” there, Channel 13 news reported in 2019.

Sources told AFP Tuesday that there is no indication the site has been used for processing uranium, but that it could have been used for storing it as late as the end of 2018.

An image from a placard displayed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly showing a suspected “secret atomic warehouse” in the Turquzabad district of Tehran containing up to 300 tons of nuclear material. (GPO)

In a separate report also issued on Tuesday, the IAEA said that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium is now more than 14 times over the limit set down in its 2015 deal with world powers.

The report said that, as of February 16, Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was 2,967.8 kilograms.

The limit in the 2015 deal was set at 300 kilos (660 pounds) of enriched uranium in a particular compound form, which is the equivalent of 202.8 kilos of uranium in non-compound form.

The latest IAEA reports came on the day that Iran began to restrict some site inspections by the IAEA in a further violation of the nuclear deal, which Tehran has steadily stepped away from since president Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed sanctions.

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