IAEA: Tehran could build nuke in ‘weeks, not months’

IAEA: Tehran could build nuke in ‘weeks, not months’

Iran could make a dash for the bomb in a matter of weeks, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Monday, adding that Tehran’s activity “raises eyebrows.”

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi told Deutsche Welle that Iran is “weeks rather than months” away from having sufficient enriched uranium to manufacture a bomb.

In late December, the agency said Iran had tripled its uranium enrichment level to 60%, which is just a short technical step away from 90% weapons-grade.

“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,” added Grossi.

In February, Grossi accused Tehran is being less than forthright regarding its nuclear program, saying the Islamic Republic was “presenting a face which is not entirely transparent when it comes to its nuclear activities. Of course this increases dangers.”

There had recently been a rise in “loose talk” about nuclear weapons, including from Iran, he noted. “A very high official said, in fact, ‘We have everything, it’s disassembled.’ Well, please let me know what you have?” Grossi said.

The comment came after Ali Akbar Salehi, a former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said that Tehran has all the pieces for a nuclear weapon “in our hands.”

When asked about reports of the possible revival of nuclear talks between the United States and Iran, Grossi told Deutsche Welle that the IAEA was committed to promoting dialogue.

On Sunday, the dpa German news agency reported that Iran is in contact with the Biden administration about restarting moribund talks, with the Islamic Republic’s U.N. mission coordinating with the Americans.

Earlier this month, Tehran threatened to reconsider its official nuclear doctrine amid a direct conflict with Israel.

Tehran engaged in a direct attack on the Jewish state for the first time on April 14, launching a massive drone and missile assault. Israel allegedly responded with a strike on an Iranian air base on April 19.

The IAEA is expected to issue its next report on Iran’s nuclear progress in June.

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