Iran's response to a UN nuclear watchdog report is criticized by the US and its allies

Washington: In a statement released together on Friday, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany criticised Iran's "inadequate" response to a report on its nuclear programme from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

After discovering alterations to equipment at the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant that can enrich uranium to up to 60% without prior notice, the UN nuclear watchdog issued a warning to Tehran on Wednesday. Iran claimed that the issue was later resolved after an IAEA inspector unintentionally flagged the changes as being undeclared. The joint statement criticised Iran's claims that this action was made in error as being insufficient.

We evaluate Iran's actions based on the IAEA's impartial and factual reports, not on Iran's alleged intentions.

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In an unannounced Fordo inspection on January 21, inspectors discovered that "two IR-6 centrifuge cascades were interconnected in a way that was substantially different from the mode of operation declared by Iran to the agency," according to an IAEA report seen by AFP. The type of modifications made to the interconnection between the cascades was not specified by the IAEA.

According to the four nations, the modification is "inconsistent with Iran's obligations" under treaties and "undermines the Agency's ability to maintain timely detection at Iran's nuclear facilities" due to the absence of the required notifications.

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We are reminded that Iran's production of highly enriched uranium at the Fordow Enrichment Plant entails significant risks related to proliferation and is devoid of any convincing civilian justification, according to their statement.

Since November 2022, when Iran started producing uranium there and at its Natanz site that has been enriched to a 60 percent level, the Fordo site has come under more scrutiny.

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This is very close to the 90% required to produce an atomic bomb and far exceeds the 3.67 percent enrichment threshold established by the 2015 agreement between Tehran and major powers.

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